Posted on Leave a comment

Make Great Espresso At Home [Coffee Brewing Guide] – Part1

Espresso is a touchy subject in the coffee industry. You can learn “the only correct way” from a ton of different sources and somehow, they always seem to differ. The honest answer is that there is no one way to make espresso that is universal and works for every espresso machine. Espresso machines are touchy and each one has a “best practices” list in order that you can make great espresso. “Make a Great Espresso at Home” – the second part of our “Coffee Brewing Guide” we’ll look at some of that important factors to help you make great espresso at home.

Make Great Espresso for Home!

Make Great Espresso At Home – Part 1 – Foundations

First off, if you have an espresso machine, you’re one of three kinds of people:

  1. 1.) a coffee connoisseur that wants the ability to enjoy espresso made from the beans of their choice at home, on demand
  2. 2.) a person that enjoys tinkering with gadgets and loves coffee and figured that this was the way to go
  3. 3.) someone that didn’t realize the first two kinds of people are the prime candidates for an espresso machine and purchased theirs for money savings or was given the one they have.

Don’t worry, if you’re the third kind of person, this guide will be especially important for you because, in honesty, you don’t want to spend hours tinkering and figuring it out. You want to know how to make great espresso and keep it consistently good with each cup. For the first 2 kinds of people, you’ll enjoy the knowledge you can take out of this post and will (hopefully) find a lot of ways to apply it to how you already enjoy your espresso.

In order to make great espresso at home, there are some foundational pieces of knowledge you need. These provide the foundation when you play with your settings to ensure that you understand how to tweak your espresso if something isn’t right.

  1. 1. Read the user manual – Since each machine is different, this is important. It’s okay if you don’t understand everything it’s saying. This guide will help and ultimately, you’re going to play a little anyhow.
  2. 2. Crema – This is the lighter orangeish tan foam on top of the shot as it comes out of your espresso machine. If you don’t see this, your shots are going to taste awful and you really need to tweak it a lot more.
  3. Portafilter with Grounds3. Portafilter – The portafilter is the arm attached to the metal basket with a spout that holds your grounds. The water passes through here to create your coffee extract.
  4. 4. The Coffee – While Camano Island Coffee Roasters is proud to offer single origin coffees, we always make one exception, our Varietal Supremo. The reason that we make that exception is because no single origin bean has all of the characteristics necessary in itself to make amazing espresso.
  5. 5. The Grind – Espresso requires a fine grind. Espresso is, by far, the pickiest brewing method as perfecting the grind comes by playing between a #3 and #2 setting on a standard burr grinder – which, by the way, is hardly able to cut it for making espresso. If you have a blade grinder replacing it should be your first starting point. We recommend getting a specialized espresso burr grinder. It will give you the best control over your grind.
  6. 6. The Machine – Let’s face it, not all machines are created equal. You can always look into better machines later but, in most cases, even the lesser machines can do a great job if the details are followed.
  7. Espresso Shots in a cup7. Water Pressure – In order to get the extraction correct for your shots, you need 9 bars of pressure. Most decent espresso machines come with a way to measure your water pressure. If yours doesn’t, check with the manual again or even do a Google search for how to measure the bars of pressure with your specific model.
  8. 8. Tamper – In order to pack your grounds properly in the portafilter, you’ll need a tamper that matches the diameter of the interior of your portafilter. In other words, if the tamper fits in your portafilter and there is a gap, the tamper is too small. If it doesn’t fit – it’s too large.

This concludes our section on the foundational elements of how to make great espresso at home. Our next section (part 2) will cover the basics of extracting the perfect shot.

For more in depth learning and training at a great price, we recommend All of Camano Island Coffee Roasters’ barista’s are NewBarista Certified and the information found in this post stems from our training.

Sources |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *