In making the perfect espresso shot it is generally agreed there are a number of factors you need to take into account:
Factor 1: The water used.
When beginning the process of making an espresso, it is important that the water flows through the filter at the correct speed. There are two ways this can be controlled: alter the pressure the water enters the machine at or adjust the grind of the coffee. If the water moves too slowly through the coffee then it will become over extracted, leaving a bitter after taste and uneven crema on top in the process. If the water moves too quickly through the coffee grounds then your brew will be weak and there will only be a slight crema on top. Pre-heating the cups can help in developing a frothy crema.
Factor 2: The coffee used
If you want to achieve the same great flavour of coffee that you get in your shop then you will need to use fresh beans. When grinding your beans ensure you only purchase 2 weeks supply as the flavour can deteriorate very quickly. When you purchase the beans store them in airtight containers in a cool dry area. In terms of flavour, the dark roast beans tend to give richer aromas.
Factor 3: Grind the coffee correctly
If using a pre-ground coffee, be sure to purchase an espresso grind that is specifically produced for espresso/cappuccinos. It is important to get the consistency of the grind right: grind too fine and the coffee will taste bitter and the crema on top will be inconsistent, grind too course and the brew will be weak with virtually no crema on top.
Factor 4: The correct way to tamp the coffee grounds
Tamping the coffee correctly is important in order to prevent any of the water seeping through the coffee grounds. Use the scoop supplied to load the coffee into the basket. Tamp it down with gentle pressure. Ensure that you do not load too much coffee into the basket. One scoop should be enough to provide you with one cup and 2 scoops for 2 cups of coffee. Tamping too hard will lead to over extraction of the coffee. Brush any excess coffee away from the edges of the basket. Place the portafilter onto the brew head and you’ll be ready to pull the first shot.
If coffee comes out unevenly through the sprouts then you probably need to clean the basket as a residue can be left behind.
Follow the above steps and they will assist you in making the perfect espresso shot – every time.