Before you learn about making espresso drinks at home, let’s start with the first question: What is espresso? Espresso is a beverage made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. The result of this brewing process is a concentrated coffee with a stronger flavor than regular coffee.
There are three different types of espresso:
- ristretto (30–45 ml)
- corretto (50–55 ml)
- lungo (60–90 ml)
Espresso is one of the most popular coffee drinks worldwide, and it’s a treat. But did you know that you can make espresso at home?
The key to making great espresso is finding the right grind for your machine and getting your grind size as close as possible to what you want. If you’ve got a manual machine, this means grinding your beans; if you have an automatic machine, it means finding out what grind size works best for your machine so that it can produce an extraction rate within 5% of what you want it to be. You can also try experimenting with different settings until you get something close enough that tastes good to you!
Espresso brewing methods
There are many different ways to brew espresso at home. Here’s a breakdown of the most common methods you’ll find.
The Moka Pot
The Moka pot is an Italian-made stovetop coffee maker that uses steam pressure to create espresso. It’s a small device that looks like a tall pot with a lid and spout at the top, and a bottom compartment where water is heated up before being forced into the upper chamber where it mixes with ground coffee beans. The result is a concentrated shot of espresso that you can use in drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, etc.
The Moka pot has been around for centuries, but it’s not all that easy to use if you’re new to making espresso drinks at home. There are lots of special instructions for using one correctly. It takes some practice to get right! You can try a different method if you’re looking for something straightforward instead of complicated and confusing.
Espresso brewing process
The process of brewing espresso is pretty simple, but it does require some special equipment. Here’s an overview:
1. Start with a quality espresso machine. Most machines are affordable, but if you don’t want to invest in one, there are other ways to brew espresso at home.
2. Grind your beans before brewing—you can use a manual grinder or an electric burr grinder. If you’re using a manual grinder, grind at medium-fine for Americanos and fine for espressos or ristrettos.
3. Use about 25 grams of ground coffee per shot of espresso (about 7 grams per ounce). If you’re using a traditional portafilter basket and tamping tool, tamp down gently until the basket rim and grounds are leveled. If you’re using a pressurized system that requires less pressure than other systems, you won’t need as much pressure on your tamping tool. There will be less resistance from air being pushed through the filter holder.