Espresso starts as finely ground coffee beans, with highly pressurized hot water forced through the coffee bed to produce a full bodied, aromatic, crema rich condensed coffee. Perfectly enjoyable on its own or used as a base for a variety of other drinks.
In this introductory guide, we will walk through the basic espresso brewing techniques, which you can use as a starting point of reference and get more out of our freshly roasted, seasonal, delicious specialty coffee.
What you will need:
- Fresh coffee
- Espresso machine
Brew time: 20 - 30 seconds
- Fill the reservoir of the espresso machine with fresh, low mineral content water suitable for brewing coffee, and preheat the machine and portafilter. A cold portafilter tend to produce coffee with higher acidity.
- Grind the coffee just before you start brewing. A typical home use espresso double shot basket holds around 15 - 18g of ground coffee. Please check the instruction manual for the specific dosage of your machine.
- Place your portafilter on the scale to weight your dose of coffee.
- Distribute the coffee by drawing a finger across it in a series of alternating swipes, from top to bottom and left to right. Uneven distribution will lead to channelling in your puck, some coffee will be over-extracted and some under-extracted, resulting in sub-optimal tasting coffee.
- Place your portafilter on a flat surface, take your tamper and apply pressure downward in an even manner. Rather than the strength of force, it is more important to apply a firm and consistent pressure to ensure a flat, level surface and compact puck.
- Warm up your grouphead by purging thoroughly with hot water.
- Secure the portafilter in the grouphead and start your shot.
- Place your cup on a scale, zero the weight to measure the amount of extraction. Some scales also have a timer feature and can be used to measure the extraction time, otherwise a standalone timer could be used, such as the app from your smartphone. The recommended extraction time is 25 - 30 seconds.
- Your shot should start with a slow drip, then develop into a gentle even stream from dark brown to caramel to blonde in color.
- Once you have achieved your target extraction (see below for brew ratio), simply stop the process and enjoy.
There are a lot of information online defining what is a ristretto, espresso or lungo by volume (i.e: amounts of milliliters (ml)), however that is a common misunderstanding in the popular coffee culture.
Since the size of portafilter basket is different from machine to machine and the variance is even greater between home use to commercial grade machines, the definition of these beverages should be looked at from a brew ratio (coffee : extraction) perspective.
- Ristretto 1:1 to 1:1.5
- Espresso:1:1.5 to 1:2 (for double espresso, just use a double basket and follow the same brew ratio).
- Lungo: 1:2 to 1:3
Taking a 18g basket as an example:
- Ristretto: 18g of coffee should extract around 18g to 27g of liquid.
- Espresso: 18g of coffee should extract around 27g to 36g of liquid.
- Lungo: 18g of coffee should extract around 36g to 54g of liquid.
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