Did you know the espresso first came around in the 19th century?
This little drink has lasted a long time, and it’s seen plenty of coffee evolutions. From the Americano to the Cuban to a basic Pumpkin Spice Latte, the espresso is one of the building blocks of many of our favorite drinks.
But nothing really beats making a few ounces of espresso to enjoy by itself. Only true coffee lovers can handle that strength, but even fewer know how to make it.
Have you ever wanted to make espresso at home but don’t know how? Lucky for you, you’re in the right place. We’re going to break down how you can say goodbye to your barista in no time.
Read on to learn more!
Get the Right Equipment
There are ways to make coffee without an espresso machine, but chances are that it won’t be as good as if you buy a machine for your brew.
Espresso machines can cost anywhere from $40 to $4,000 depending on what you need and want. You’ll want to research the different types of equipment to see what features you need.
Make sure to read a few reviews before you buy your equipment.
The right equipment isn’t everything that makes good coffee good, but it will give you an edge over what those without equipment will do.
You’ll also need a coffee grinder, which we’ll get into later. Because you’ll be brewing at home, you won’t need a very expensive one. Ones that cost more money are ideal for commercial use, but unless you’re starting a coffee shop soon, stick to the cheaper ones.
There are plenty of other tools you can get to perfect your espresso. But until you start getting the hang of it, it might be better to not invest yet.
Many coffee drinkers happily buy their coffee pre-ground from a chain grocery store. This is fine for people who aren’t perfecting their coffee, but if you want to make a great cup of espresso, you have to buy whole beans.
Why? After coffee is ground, it begins to lose its taste and flavor. Like any plant, after coffee sits out for a while, it will start to rot.
Coffee lasts longer than your average fruit or vegetable, but it will start to lose flavor quickly after roasting. Consider buying your coffee from a local roaster to maximize your flavor.
Grinding beans is an extra step plenty of people don’t want to take. Although it’s not the best practice, you can pre-grind your own beans and seal them for times you need to make coffee in a rush.
If you’re worried about cost, consider buying pre-ground coffee from the grocery store for drip or Chemex-brewed coffee you don’t have the time to enjoy. Leave the more expensive beans for special occasions.
How to Grind
When grinding beans, make sure to make a rather fine grind. Espresso machines work better with fine coffee, and this is part of the reason you need to grind your own beans.
Without control of the fineness, your coffee pot might steam too much trying to get past bulky coffee beans. This can cause damage to your machine.
Watch the Experts
It’s hard to tell you what the formula for a perfect espresso is. Because everyone has different palates, you may not like what another coffee drinker enjoys.
That being said, do some research and read a few articles about making espresso. Many coffee experts will tell you their ratios for espressos.
Try some of these out and see if you like them. Then, play with their formulas a bit to see if you can arrive at something you like.
Practice, Practice, Practice
After you’ve made a shot of espresso or two that you like, it’s time to perfect it. Buy a bag of beans, clear off a Saturday, and maybe even invite a friend or two to come over.
Then, start making your espressos and keep a log of how they taste. Here are some questions you can ask yourself and your friends:
- What ratio works best?
- Is there a certain heat that fits your coffee best?
- Which bean tastes best in espresso form?
- Which grind level tastes the best?
After a while, you and your friends should be able to declare a particular formula and bean your favorite espresso. Write down exactly what you did, and you’ll be able to repeat it when you want.
Of course, you won’t want to stop there. Over time, your tastes will change, and you’ll want to make different types of drinks. What works in a Red Eye probably won’t work in a frappucino.
Brewing coffee is an art form, so even though you may like a coffee, you’ll want to change it after a while. Mozart didn’t write just one arrangement, and you don’t drink just one latte.
Avoid Coffee Echo Chamber
Now that you’re on your way to making perfect espresso shots, keep one thing in mind: don’t get comfortable.
Coffee is a rich and cultural experience, and keeping it all at home is a bad idea. Plenty of people would hate the coffee you love!
After a while, you’ll be stuck in your coffee echo chamber, and you’ll only like the coffee you make. Buying the same beans and using the same formula will leave you bored with your drink.
Make sure you still go out to try the coffee at your local stores. And don’t be afraid to mix up the beans you’re using.
Plus, nothing is more fun than meeting coffee aficionados like yourself. Who knows? Maybe a coffee shop will offer you a place behind their desk eventually.
Get Making Your Espresso at Home Today!
Espressos can be hard work; that’s for sure. But if you follow these steps, you should be on your way to making your best espresso at home.
Now that you’ve learned something about espressos, why not check out this article about wine? Take that article’s advice, and you’ll be an expert in that as well in no time.