Creating the perfect espresso shot can be broken down into five main steps:
Preparation, grind, dose, tamp and pour.
Each part is equally important, and you should pay attention to all five to ensure that you get the perfect shot at home.
The first step is to have your equipments ready.
You should have your espresso machine, grinder, tamper, electric scale, steaming pitcher, and shot glass or cup.
The equipments should be clean. If your equipment is not clean, the take the time to clean them before you start brewing.
You need to gather your ingredients: coffee and water.
Your coffee should be whole bean coffee to ensure the freshness of the coffee.
Try to find beans which has been recently roasted for a fresher flavor. If you want the best espresso possible, make sure to invest in high-quality beans.
Your water should be filtered if possible. Always use fresh water in your espresso machine, so dump out any old water from the reservoir and add fresh water to it.
You should give your espresso machine time to warm up, turn it on and leave it to do so.
When the machine has had time to warm up, run some water through it and into your cup or shot glass.
This will maintain the temperature of your shot through the portafilter and into your receptacle.
You are now ready to grind your coffee.
Grinding the Beans
We always recommend grinding your beans only when you need them. This will give you the freshest ground coffee and the best tasting espresso.
If you do not have a grinder at home, try to grind your coffee as close to using it as possible.
We recommend storing your ground coffee in the bag it comes in (if there is a one-way valve on the front).
The bag with a valve will allow the natural gasses which escape the coffee beans to also escape the bag while not allowing the oxygen in to break down the coffee quicker.
An airtight container is a good substitute if the bag does not come with a one-way valve. Store your coffee in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight.
Place your whole beans in your grinder and choose the correct setting.
You will likely start with the presets, but do not be afraid to experiment with other different settings.
Your ground coffee should be somewhere between salt and flour in consistency.
Dosing Coffee Ground
Use your scales to dose out the correct amount of coffee.
Ideally between 7-12 grams is perfect for a single shot. Double it for a double shot.
Place the dose of coffee into the portafilter.
Tamping the Ground
Be sure to take your time and tamp the coffee correctly.
Place the tamper on top of the ground coffee, making sure that the tamper is even and horizontal. An uneven tamp will result in uneven extraction.
Apply around 40 pounds of pressure to the coffee using your shoulders and upper arms.
As you lift the tamper from the coffee, twist it a quarter turn to ensure that coffee does not cling to the bottom of the tamper.
Use the handle to knock any loose grounds from the edge of the portafilter to the center.
Tamp the coffee a second time. Use around half the pressure this time and give the tamper a quarter turn as you are lifting it off to ensure no coffee clings to it.
Pour — Pulling the Perfect Shot
Place the portafilter back on the espresso machine.
Start the espresso maker and watch as the shot comes out.
Your shot should be between 20-30 seconds. If it is not, then you should change some of the variables (see our troubleshooting section), and start again.
Watch for an even consistency as the shot is being poured. It should flow evenly.
When the shot is in the glass, look for the heart, body, and crema.
Enjoy your shot of Perfect Espresso.