How to Make Espresso

Knowing how to make espresso is vital if you're a coffee connoisseur. Even if you're a coffee novice, but still love coffee-based drinks, making a good espresso is still important because it is the basis of every espresso-based drink. There are many factors that go into making a great espresso, but if you follow some simple directions you will learn how to make espresso and create fantastic drinks in no time.

Buy the Best Coffee Ingredients
A great shot of espresso starts with high-quality ingredients. Don't settle for the generic brands. Find coffee beans that have been roasted specifically for making espresso. Most coffee houses and cafes, as well as supermarkets, sell these espresso beans.

For the best and most flavorful espresso, invest in a coffee bean grinder and grind the beans at home. If you buy the beans already ground, they lose their freshness quicker.

Adjusting Water Levels
Fill the water to the correct level specified on your home espresso machine. Coffee and espresso machines will give you levels for one to two espresso cups. Some super automatic espresso machines even make up to four espressos at a time.

Always use filtered water to make your espresso. If you use tap water, you'll notice a buildup of minerals in your espresso machine. Filtered water will taste sharper and cleaner.

Tamping Your Espresso Grounds
If you are using a manual espresso machine, remove the coffee filter and fill it between ½ and ¾ of the way full with your espresso grounds, depending on how many servings of espresso you're making. You can measure it precisely based on the measurement tool on your machine.

Using the tamping tool, pack the coffee down until it is loosely compacted. If you pack the grounds down too much, it will be difficult for the water to drip through. Replace the coffee filter, fastening it securely to prevent it from becoming loose.

Pulling the Perfect Shot
Preheat the glass carafe with some hot water before you turn on the machine. If you don't preheat the carafe, your espresso will be cold before you drink it.

Put the glass carafe underneath the coffee spout, making sure it's positioned correctly, and turn the machine on. When the temperature reaches its correct level, the machine will automatically force the water into the coffee filter. The water will drip through the filter and into the carafe.

Look for the Crema
The water will drip between 30 to 60 seconds, depending on how many servings you're making. You'll get a lovely thick, dark espresso dripping into the carafe. Towards the end of the drip, you'll begin to see the espresso crema. Crema is the cream foam that appears on the top of the espresso shot. A rich crema is the sign of a perfectly created shot.

When you pull a spoon through the crema, it should incorporate back into the liquid. If it doesn't, the crema has not formed correctly. If you want to create the best crema, it's important to tamp your grounds correctly when putting it into the filter.

If the coffee is tamped down too tightly or too loosely, the water will drip through it too slowly or too quickly. You must practice with trial and error because each machine will be different.

Espresso Drinks
You can enjoy your espresso shot on its own, or get a little creative to produce some delicious espresso-based drinks. Create a simple latte by steaming your favorite type of milk and pouring the milk ¾ of the way over your espresso shot. Spoon a small dollop of the foam from the steaming process at the very top.

If you enjoy cappuccino, create more foam by pulling up on the steam wand as you steam your milk. Add equal amounts of steamed milk and foam over your espresso shot to create the frothy drink. Sprinkle ground cinnamon or nutmeg on top of the foam for an extra treat.

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