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Everything You Need to Know About Espresso

Black coffee and espresso, although always intertwined, are different in every way. They vary in preparation, taste, and caffeine levels. They have different aromas, require different brewing techniques, and are served in different sizes. It’s surprising they’re both made from the same beans.

The average shot of espresso is two ounces in size. Each espresso has approximately 64 mg of caffeine in a serving.

It usually takes less than 30 seconds to make a shot of espresso.

Espresso is the base for the most famous coffee drinks like lattes, mochas, and cappuccinos. Even if you’ve never had a shot of espresso before, you’ve almost certainly had espresso in one from on another.


Looking for a New Espresso Machine?

To start brewing espresso at home, first, you need an espresso machine. I personally use this Gevi because it makes outstanding quality espresso every time. It’s easy to use and even easier to clean. I’ve had it for a few months and it’s never let me down. Having your own espresso machine to experiment with undoubtedly cuts down your visits to coffee shops and increases your coffee horizons.

If you’d rather browse around to see your options, I put together a list of all the best affordable espresso machines for sale online.

    • Water tank: 40oz(1.2L)
    • Adjustable milk frothing wand
    • 2 thermostats for water and milk
    • 20 bar pump
    • Easy to use
    • Takes 45 seconds to warm up

    What Coffee Beans Should You Use for Espresso?

    Now that you’ve got an idea about espresso machines you can take a minute to think about the quality of your coffee beans at home. Will they make the type of espresso that everyone raves about? If so, perfect, if not I suggest you take a look at my favorite Pellini Vivace. I’m yet to find a more authentic espresso experience than the one I get from Pellini.

    If you’re looking for that real authentic Italian espresso, then you’ve found it. This incredible coffee makes mouthwatering, creamy, smooth espresso. It’s literally everything you’d expect from the best espresso coffee beans, bold flavor, delightful crema, and just the right amount of caffeine.

      Pellini No.82 Vivace

      • Size: 35oz(1kg)
      • 90% Arabica 10% Robusta beans
      • Flavor notes: Chocolate
      • Single-origin
      • Premium Italian coffee

      I made an entire article dedicated to the best coffee beans suitable for espresso. I suggest you check it out to get an idea of your options and maybe start a coffee bean hitlist.

      How to Make Espresso?

      Now that you have the equipment and the beans, it’s time to learn how to pull a shot of espresso. Click this link for a more detailed walkthrough than the one you see here.

      Step 1: Get your coffee beans ready

      Avoid using pre-ground coffee beans at all costs. You’ll want to grind fresh coffee beans every time you make espresso.

      You should bring your coffee beans to a fine grind.

      Aim for an even batch resembling granulated sugar. The grind size can make or break your espresso, so it’s really important that you get it right.

      A single shot of espresso needs 8-12 grams of coffee. Roughly a flat tablespoon of coffee beans. We’re going to be using 14-18 grams of coffee to pull a double shot of espresso. If you don’t have a digital scale 14-18 grams is roughly 1 heaping tablespoon of coffee.

      If your grind is too fine the espresso will taste bitter and burnt. Also, the extraction will take longer than it should.

      On the other hand, if your grind is too coarse, the shot will taste weak, watery, and sour.

      Step 2: Tamper your coffee

      Pour the beans from your grinder into the portafilter. Use the tamper to press down on the coffee grounds. The purpose of tampering is to make the grounds even and compressed.

      I like to use the edge of a countertop or a table and press the tamper down on my grounds until I feel them create a uniform puck.

      You want the coffee to be uniform and even, but not so compressed that it stops water from getting through.

      Step 3: Pull a blank shot

      Before you lock the portafilter into your espresso machine let some water run through the coffee maker for 2 seconds and clean the spout of any old coffee, dust, or dirt.

      Use a glass to catch and dispose of the dirty water.

      Step 4: Extract a shot of espresso

      Extracting your espresso should take between 20 to 30 seconds. Start your coffee machine and timer at the same time and notice the coffee begin to stream through.

      If your grind and temp are correct the stream will be constant. The first drops of your coffee should be dark brown and then turn into a golden-brown stream.

      This is where you need to examine the results. Did your stream break? If so, then your tamper was uneven.

      The results you’re aiming for

      The espresso you pulled should be dark brown, almost black, in appearance. The shot should be covered with a creamy golden brown foam called crema. Ideally, the foam layer should be thick, a quarter of the total height of the coffee.

      Your coffee should have a rich aroma and a potent flavor. When consumed shortly after being pulled, espressos should have no lingering aftertaste.

      fine coffee grind
      tamper coffee
      finished espress

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