The perfect espresso shot

Making a perfect espresso shot is a deeply satisfying experience and something that never gets old. Of course if you are using a fully automatic espresso machine then you don’t really need to read any of this and if you don’t own an espresso machine at all, then shame on you!!

 Equipment Needed

  1. Espresso maker – there are whole lot of choices out there. The first home espresso maker that I bought was the Gaggia Classic and I still use it today.
  2. A good grinder, as mentioned before, we like the Baratza Encore.
  3. A good heavy tamper, I prefer the steel ones
  4. Espresso shot glasses

 The Method

  1. Turn on your espresso machine. Most home espresso makers take some time to prime the water temperature and pressure.
  2. Measure around 18-20 grams of coffee beans and put it in the grinder
  3. Adjust the grinder to get a very fine grind. In the Baratza Encore, we usually set it at level 6. But we do change it sometimes based on the beans we are using. You should experiment with the grind size to see what is right for a specific bean. We usually don’t go to the lowest level, just a couple of notches above – see the picture below to get an idea of how we grind it.
  4. Remove the portafilter and clear out any old espresso puck that you forgot to clean the last time you used your machine!
  5. I like to turn on the water from the group head for a second to warm it up and also possibly get rid of any gunk that was present. I usually wash the portafilter with the same hot water to get the portafilter warmed up too.
  6. Wipe the portafilter after you have washed it. Pour the ground coffee into the porta filter and even it out using your fingers or just tap it so it evens out.
  7. Align the tamper so it fits exactly on top of the portafilter and slowly bring it down on top of the grounds coffee. Use some force to press down on the coffee. The amount of force comes with experience so practice the first couple of times to get the right touch. Pressing too lightly wont compact the grinds and will cause under extraction while a very hard press will over extract the coffee.
  8. Rotate to the tamper slowly to even out the grinds and pull out the tamper
  9. Now place the portafilter back into the group head, lock it in place and turn on your espresso maker keeping your espresso glasses underneath. Ideally warm the shot glasses beforehand, which will ensure that the espresso stays warm.
  10. Keep an eye on the espresso as it slowly pours out into your glasses, it will be dark brownish/black at first, slowly changing into a more blonde color. This is close to when you need to stop the machine
  11. Ideally it should take around 30 seconds to get a good double shot of espresso.
  12. That’s it; you have an excellent shot of espresso hopefully with some good crema ready to be slurped down as is or to be added into your favorite drink of choice!! Enjoy!!