Espresso

Espresso can be very complex. What’s important is how you enjoy your coffee and that you are able to brew it yourself. The following guide is not an all-encompassing manifesto, but it will provide you with an idea of what variables you can control regardless of your espresso equipment.

Brew Checklist

  • Espresso machine with portafilter
  • Grinder
  • Tamper
  • Timer
  • Scale
Set Your Grind

1 Set Your Grind

Your coffee should be ground on a fine setting.

Set Your Grind
Weigh the Dose

2 Weigh the Dose

The weight of dry ground coffee is often referred to as input. The dose is the anchor of your entire recipe. The dose varies based upon your espresso machine and the size of your filter baskets (refer to user’s manual or an Internet search to determine recommended dose for your machine).

Weigh the Dose
Evenly Distribute Grounds

3 Evenly Distribute Grounds

The key to sweet-tasting espresso is an evenly extracted shot. To achieve even extraction the grounds need to be evenly distributed in your portafilter basket. Firmly tapping all sides of your basket will shift the entire mass of coffee, levelling it out.

Evenly Distribute Grounds
You're Ready to Tamp

4 You're Ready to Tamp

Once you have evenly distributed your espresso, you are now ready to tamp. Taking your tamper in your lead hand and portafilter in the other, simply press evenly and firmly. Press until it feels as though you cannot compress the espresso grounds any further, however, there is no need to strain yourself.

You're Ready to Tamp
Lock in Portafilter

5 Lock in Portafilter

Firmly but gently lock your portafilter into the grouphead to create a full seal.

Lock in Portafilter
Tare, Start, On

6 Tare, Start, On

Firstly, tare your scale with your shot glass on it under the grouphead. Next, start your machine and timer simultaneously. 

Tare, Start, On
Output Weight

7 Output Weight

Output is the final weight of your espresso. For precision and great-tasting espresso apply the ratio 1:2 in order to determine what your output weight should be. Note: ‘1’ represents your initial input weight and ‘2’ represents your output weight (your finished espresso should be close to twice the weight of your input).

 

Output Weight

If Your Coffee Is Too Strong Or Weak:

Check your yield

Yield (the weight of brewed liquid coffee - an espresso shot), is often referred to as output. As you increase your yield, your strength decreases. - A shot with higher yield means more water is passing through the coffee – this increases extraction. More water also means the espresso is more dilute (decreased strength).

As you decrease your yield, your strength increases. - A shot with lower yield means less water is passing through the coffee – this decreases extraction. Less water also means the espresso is more concentrated (increased strength).

Choose your timing

Time, being the amount of time the coffee is in the contact with water is critical. Changing the time in which an espresso shot pulls can slightly increase or decrease both strength and extraction simultaneously.

Changing your grind setting gives you the ability to choose what time your target yield is achieved. A coarser grind creates less resistance in the basket and a faster flow of water (less strength and extraction). A finer grind creates more resistance in the basket and a slower flow of water (higher strength and extraction).