How to make espresso: top tips for homemade espresso
Whether you’re craving a strong shot of caffeine in the morning or fancy a refreshing iced macchiato, espresso is a key pillar in the coffee world. And knowing how to make espresso at home will give you access to a variety of coffee drinks every day. But how can you achieve the perfect espresso at home? And what if you want to know how to make espresso without an espresso machine?
This article will walk you through the steps for how to make espresso coffee with an espresso machine and how to make espresso with coffee maker alternatives. From the right pressure to the water temperature to the exact coffee grind measurement, discover our top tips.
How to make espresso without an espresso machine
Maybe you want a strong espresso shot in the morning but you don’t have an espresso machine. You can learn how to make espresso with coffee maker alternatives, such as a cafetiere, instead.
First, grind your whole beans and brew the espresso as you normally would when making cafetiere coffee. Filter it through a sieve or a filter into a canister. Repeat this again to start brewing another coffee. But instead of using water as you normally would, use the coffee you just made.
While you won’t be able to expect any crema with the cafetiere method, you will still have a strong espresso coffee.
You now know how to make espresso without machine assistance, but the truth is that making a shot with a machine tastes even better.
How to make espresso with machine in 5 steps
Follow these steps to make homemade espresso with a semi-automatic espresso maker:
Pull a ‘blank shot:’ Preheat the machine by running water through the portafilter and your cup without using any espresso.
Grind the fresh whole beans: Do this right before brewing. Aim for a texture that’s similar to granulated sugar for the perfect taste.
Fill the portafilter: For a single shot of espresso, use about 6g of ground beans (one rounded teaspoon). Use 17g (one rounded tablespoon) of ground beans for a double espresso.
Tamp the grounds: Level the grounds until they appear even to ensure consistency when the water is forced through.
Brew the espresso: Insert the portafilter into the machine with your cup underneath it. Have a timer ready to ensure the brewing time is 20-30 seconds.
What’s the key to how to make espresso coffee that tastes delicious? Success ultimately comes down to preparation and accuracy. Here’s how to make espresso that’s as close as possible to barista standard:
Tamp at a 90-degree angle. Tamping can ultimately make or break the taste. Follow these steps to tamp like a pro:
Use your finger to level the grounds and brush off any excess.
Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle and apply about 7kg of pressure.
Once you’ve formed a puck, apply more pressure to make it even more compact
(about 9-13kg of pressure should do the trick).
Helpful hack: If you’re not sure how much force is needed for tamping, stand on a scale and push the tamp down on the worktop until you see your weight decrease. This will show how hard you need to press to reach the right amount of pressure while tamping.
Measure the coffee-to-water ratio. The intense flavour of espresso is credited to a very high coffee-to-water ratio. Make sure that the weight of the liquid espresso is about one to three times the amount of dry coffee used. For example, if you use three teaspoons of dry coffee, you will end up pulling a standard 37ml shot of espresso.
Check the consistency of your grounds. To achieve the perfect homemade espresso, the grind texture has to be just right. If your shot tastes bitter or burnt, it could be over-extraction from grounds that are too fine. If it tastes weak or sour, the grounds might be too coarse. While personal taste determines where you want your espresso on the bitter-to-weak spectrum, strive for fine grounds consistent in size and texture.
Make sure the water is hot. Water temperature is key to pulling the perfect shot. It should be 90-96°C.
How to make espresso at home the easiest way
If you find this all too much hassle to go through for your espresso at home, then a fully automatic espresso machine might be for you. It’ll do all that work at the touch of a button!
You now know how to make espresso without machine help, and how to make espresso with machine help, and how to make life easy for yourself with the most helpful type of machine on the market!