15 Must-Know Tips for Making A Perfect Espresso Shot

15 Must-Know Tips for Making A Perfect Espresso Shot

Whether you are cooking a vegan cornbread or making a coffee finding a perfect recipe is essential. You can find several tutorials to brew your coffee, but you will hardly find any tips that make your coffee the perfect morning drink. How to make the perfect espresso? Here are some fantastic in-detail tips that will lead you to your flavorsome morning drink:

1. Find a Good Coffee:

Good coffee beans are synonymous with good coffee. Acidity comes with espresso, and to avoid it, we need to ensure that coffee is freshly roasted. However, roasting itself is an important part, and it decides how the coffee will turn out to be. If it is too dark, it will become bitter; it will be acidic if it is too light. For espresso, medium roasting works well.  

Make sure that the coffee is not too fresh either. Coffee needs to degas; neither too much nor too less. The roasting date of coffee plays a crucial role in enhancing its taste. Keep the coffee beans away from the sunlight, humidity, and high temperature to keep their freshness and aroma intact. 

2. Use Good Equipment:

An Espresso machine and a good grinder can help you make the coffee that would somewhat be similar to the one you get at the coffee bar:

The Grinder:

This one determines how tasteful your coffee is going to be. A flat burr grinder will be perfect for you to make espresso; with uniformly ground particles, you will benefit from its fast speed. 

An Espresso Machine:

From the perfect daily grind, Kim asks: “What would I look into in a machine?” he asks. “That you can regulate things such as temperature, pressure, water flow, and things that allow you to experiment.” Espresso machines are highly user-friendly, and with so many features at hand, you can enjoy experimenting with your coffee, such as the one that is soon to be launched by the Dalla Corte Studio. 

However, the espresso machine calls for thorough maintenance. Cleaning it after every use makes it last for years. 

espresso gear

3. Grinding Your Coffee Well:

The grind size of coffee is an important factor in the extraction of aroma and taste. If your coffee is freshly ground, the taste of your espresso will be as per your expectations. The finer your coffee is ground, the faster it will be since it places a key role in its taste enhancement. 

Extraction of taste happens systematically. Firstly, it will be fruity; next will be the sweetness that will be followed by bitterness coupled with astringency. Our goal is to have a hint of each flavor in our coffee. The grind size also suggests how long it will take to make our coffee. If you ground too fine, it will take some time to get the water in there and prepare the shot. However, if it is appropriately ground, less time will be needed for your espresso made.

4. Clean Up Portafilter:

As we discussed earlier, keeping your espresso machine clean is highly recommended. If you are not paying attention to its cleanliness, it is going to affect the taste, i.e., making it bitter and astringent. Ensure to wash your espresso machine’s Portafilter after every use to get rid of the leftover moisture and leftover grounds.

espresso portafilter

5. Correct Dose:

Adding the correct dose of coffee is every barista’s aim. Kudos to the latest espresso machines where you can fix the dose using your hand or Portafilter, and the grinder will give you the pre-set dose. You can even recheck it on the scale before making the espresso shot to ensure excellence in its taste. 

6. Ground Distribution in Portafilter:

The grinder doses the grounds in Portafilter in the form of a pyramid or mountain, which is synonymous with uneven distribution of ground, which means some parts of the basket will have more coffee while others will have less. Use some distribution tools to ensure consistency and extraction of your espresso. 

7. Consistent and Even Tamping:

It is usually taught to baristas that they should tamp the espresso with 20 kilos or pressure? But who does really know when they are applying 20kg pressure? Forget this myth! Tamp until you have removed all the air pockets and the coffee puck is perfectly leveled. Tamp hard and for so long that the puck gets compressed. Tamping affects extraction; be careful with it.

espresso tamping

8. Water Quality and Temperature Does Matter:

It is not the amount but the quality of water that matters the most. If the water quality is not up to the mark, it can ruin your espresso machine. Limescale buildup can hinder the machine’s performance. Moreover, the type of water can either make or break the taste of your espresso. Kim from perfect daily grind suggests using water with neutral Ph to get the desired results. Use hotter water so the aroma and taste of coffee can ooze out seamlessly!

9. Cleaning the Group Head:

Cleaning does play a key role in enhancing the taste of your coffee and making your espresso machine last longer. Consider rinsing your ground head more often. It will ensure its proper heating resulting inaccurate extraction of coffee. Besides, it is the easiest way to clean your coffee machine. 

10. Inserting Portafilter and Instant Brewing:

Once you install the Portafilter, start brewing instantly. The heated group head will make your coffee’s surface burn if you won’t brew. The bitterness of your espresso will make your barista’s qualities questionable. 

brewing espresso

11. Brewing Variables:

When brewing other coffees, the other variables are usually water, heat, dose, grind size, brewing time, etc. However, when it comes to brewing espresso, the pressure becomes an essential variable that determines the authenticity of espresso’s taste. The pressure is the result of dose, tamping, and the ground size; focus on it!

12. Brewing Time of Espresso:

24 to 30 seconds is the exact time needed to brew a delicious espresso shot. Brew time basically depends on the dose, tamping, and grind size. If the shot takes longer than 30 seconds to get prepared, it means it’s burning. If you are using an auto espresso machine, beware of the over or under extraction. When using a manual, make sure it’s not too fast because the results will be more extraction and dilution. 

13. Serve Courteously:

As a barista, serving coffee with a smile is integral to your job. Being courteous enhances the taste of espresso for the customers and makes their overall experience of visiting your shop absolutely delightful. Tell them a little about the specialty of your espresso so they know what they should be expecting. 

espresso serving

14. Maintain the Order:

Having a coffee shop means that you will have many customers and will have to serve them instantly. Keeping things in order helps you maintain an excellent serving speed while keeping the taste of your espresso intact. Once you have served the coffee, rinse the ground head, install the Portafilter, and clean the baskets and moisture of old coffee.

15. The Latte Art:

Latte art makes your espresso or any other coffee visually appealing. Use cold milk and condensed water from your steamer for perfect latte art. Make the steamer sit on the surface of the milk, slightly away from the center, so that milk can flow in a circular motion. When you see the milk rise, submerge the steamer at the end of the jug to warm the milk. 

Use it within a minute after the whole process, so the foam and liquid don’t separate. Pour this foamy milk slightly closer to the surface of the cup, so it gets settled at the top. If you pour it from a distance, it will sink to the bottom. Latte art is something you can learn better visually. You can use videos of Chandler Swan to enhance your latte art skills. 

latte art

Keep Learning and Improving:

Many companies offer courses for baristas to master the art of making espresso. However, you can also check out Scott Rao’s videos, which explain the art and science of making espresso quite eloquently. Once you are into the barista business, you will try to dig deep into the tricks and tips to enhance your espresso-making and latte art skills. Happy Brewing!

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