Some things are better when done by hand: making bread, and yes, making espresso. Making espresso at home is the ultimate connection to your coffee.
It’s not as easy to get good espresso as A, B, C, but the following tips will help you avoid the learning curve.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Semi-automatic espresso machine
- 2 tablespoons Happy Bean Cuban Espresso
- Milk thermometer
- Steam cooker for milk
Turn on and preheat your espresso machine.
To get the most out of your espresso machine, you need to make sure the entire machine is preheated. It can take up to 25 minutes for some machines so preheat your machine ahead of time!
Fill your portafilter with 2 tables spoons of Happy Bean Cuban Espresso.
Use your hand to shave off the excess coffee, push it into nooks and crannies and smooth it out so you can start applying pressure with your tamper (next step).
Pack the floor so that the bed is flat and evenly distributed.
You’ll want your coffee to be distributed roughly evenly before you pack them. You can tap lightly on the portafilter with your hand or with the side of your finger.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to proceed with the stuffing.
The key to good jamming is to press straight – you don’t want to have an uneven puck. A good rule of thumb is to pack until the ground stops sagging, always making sure you have a level top.
Rotate your tamper quickly to polish the top of your espresso puck. Brush off any excess grounds that adhere to the top or side of your pore filter, and you’re ready to start brewing!
Take your first shot.
While you’re firing this shot, the time it takes to reach 2 ounces. Ideally, you will have between 20 and 30 seconds per shot.
If you’re in that range, then technically you’re done, you’ve made an espresso. Let’s hope it’s rich, dark, smooth, and glorious. But in reality, this first shot only establishes a baseline.
Dial in the shot.
In case the machine has a built-in pressure gauge, note its pressure level. It will help you adjust your next shot if you have too much or too little pressure. Good espresso machines will give you an indication of how well (or how poorly) your shot was extracted.
If you switch from one roast to another, especially between light and dark, you will need to repeat this appeal process.
At this point, you decide whether you want to enjoy the espresso pure, like an Italian, or turn it into a café au lait. In the latter case, keep reading it’s time to work on the milk.
Steam your milk.
Hopefully, your machine is equipped with a steam wand. If not, you will need to use a separate steamer to steam your milk.
Using your machine’s steam wand – Start by pouring cold milk into your stainless-steel milk jug. Turn on the steam wand on your machine briefly to remove any condensation that may have accumulated.
Then place the end of the steam wand under the surface of the milk. Turn on your steamer and froth the milk until it reaches the desired consistency. Make sure that the steamer wand remains just below the surface during this process.
Once you have reached the desired froth, dip the tip into the bottom of your milk container and continue to froth the milk until you get the desired temperature. Wipe your wand and drain it briefly to keep things hygienic.
The key to lathering your milk is heat. Too little and your foam will not stay together, too much, and your milk will have a burnt and unpleasant taste. Practice, and you will enjoy it.