So, you’re the proud owner of an espresso machine. But do you really know how to get the most out of it? Here’s a few tips to get you making the perfect espresso every time.
Tip One – Let your espresso machine heat fully
The components inside your espresso machine that contain water such as the boiler are typically made of metal. Allowing these components to heat by turning on your espresso machine at least 10 minutes prior to the first coffee will create a more consistent heat for your coffees. Also use this time to heat your espresso cups before use, use the steam nozzle in hot water mode to fill the cups. Some espresso machines have built in cup warmers that take a couple of minutes to heat up.
Tip Two – Use fresh water
With coffee, fresh everything is best. Tip out your espresso machines water container each day when you’re making your first coffee. Use fresh filtered water and you’ll taste the difference. Using filtered water will also extend the life of your espresso machine, reducing calcification and lime scale build up.
Tip Three – Use fresh coffee
If you don’t have an automatic espresso machine with a built in grinder then buy a separate grinder to go with your machine. Each time you use your espresso machine, only grind enough coffee beans to fill the filter cup. This will ensure a lovely deep crema on your espresso or espresso base. Store your beans in the freezer until you’re ready to grind them, this will help them to retain their flavour. Also store any ground coffee in the freezer.
Tip Four – Use the correct grind and correct tamping
Talk to your bean supplier about your espresso machine and check that he’s supplying the correct fineness of ground coffee. Preferably use your own grinder to achieve the optimum fineness. Softly tamp your ground coffee into the filter handle, not too hard or you won’t achieve a decent flow rate. A good rule of thumb is that it should take about 25 seconds for 30ml of espresso to be poured. Get the stopwatch out to get an idea of how your espresso making is going.
Tip Five – Experiment
There’s so many variables at work with an espresso machine that you’ll have to make many coffees to truly appreciate the different coffees you can make. The temperature, the beans, the grind and the flow rate will all give different tasting coffees. You’ll know you’re getting it right when your espresso machine produces a thick golden crema and a sweet, rich espresso. And most importantly, enjoy!!
Author: Jim Storey