Always use freshly ground coffee, froth the milk at 50-60 degrees, preheat the espresso – these are just some of the tricks used by specialists to get the best espresso. Find out what else you can do to prepare this drink, like a professional, right at home.
Aromatic, intense, velvety – these are just some of the words that can describe a perfect espresso, which can turn any morning into the beginning of a successful day. Unfortunately, the preparation of this popular drink is not as easy as you might think, and a successful espresso is not available to everyone, no matter how high the equipment used. Here are some tips that can help you get over the small escapes of amateurs and get the ideal formula right at home.
Always use freshly ground coffee
One of the secrets of intense and aromatic taste is the fresh grinding of coffee beans, if possible. Some espresso machines have an integrated grinder, and then this step is significantly simplified. In case of contract, we recommend you to buy a separate device for grinding or to identify a good supplier of fresh coffee and to buy small quantities, so as not to have time to lose properties.
Weigh and write
No matter how many materials you read on this topic, the reality is that in order to find the perfect espresso formula for your taste, you have to test it. And you won't know what you did when it came out, or in which direction to go when you don't get what you want, if you don't have clear information.
One of the things you need to note is the amount of coffee used for a cup. Most recipes recommend 18 – 20g. You can use this level as a starting point for your preparation if the espresso machine allows you. It is important to check the capacity of the integrated filter holder and the quantities recommended in the user manual of the device.
The quantity varies depending on the result obtained. If it is too intense, put less coffee, and if it is too weak, add more, if the device allows you. Use a high-sensitivity kitchen scale so you can change it a little.
Manages grinding intensity
If you can grind the coffee yourself, you will benefit from another extra advantage. The size of the granules obtained influences the intensity of the infused liquid. The finer particles yield the essence more easily, and the larger ones, harder. When the espresso comes out too hard you can reduce the intensity using the same amount of ground coffee, and vice versa.
And if we keep talking about the degree of grinding, it is good to know that the lighter coffee varieties infuse more slowly, which is why it is advisable to grind them finer, if you want a strong espresso. The darker ones, on the contrary, will release the aroma and taste faster, so they can often be coarsely ground.
Preheat the espresso machine
Concept valid for any device, regardless of the field, and in the case of the espresso machine, the quality of the result obtained depends very much on how well you know the device, what it can do and how you should use it. A trick used by professionals to always get a quality espresso is to preheat the device.
Some of the models include this feature and all you have to do is press a button. However, this is usually the case for professional or household variants, but from the premium range. If you have a DeLonghi or Bezzera espresso machine , you are probably already using preheating.
For the rest of the variants, there is the possibility to prepare the first espresso machine without adding coffee, passing the appliance through the whole process just to heat it.
Carefully fill the filter holder
A careless, uneven load, with insufficiently compressed coffee, will never give very good results. If you have ground the coffee separately, carefully fill the filter holder with the set and measured amount, and tap it lightly on the side walls to ensure the placement of the particles.
Only then you start to press carefully, using the tamper, until you notice that the load does not change its volume, so you managed to compact the coffee very well. The more the coffee is spread, the weaker the liquid will come out, because the water will pass through it too fast. The better it is pressed, the more you will get out of the aroma and taste.
If you fail to press it evenly, you will get a less balanced infusion and a lower quality espresso.
Test your taste and learn from your mistakes
You can't check if you got a good espresso except by tasting and paying attention to all the nuances. Is it too bitter? It means that it has been infused too much and you can correct this aspect, with a high-performance device with a barometer, reducing the pressure with which the water hits the coffee particles. If the taste is willow, next time you can use a higher pressure.
Foam the milk well
Foam gives this drink personality and balances the specific intensity of taste. In order to obtain a perfect espresso, you must also prepare the milk very well. Foaming is done with cold milk, starting from the surface and gradually descending, to allow the liquid to absorb air as easily as possible. The process is performed until the right texture is obtained and the milk reaches the required temperature.
If you are wondering what the ideal temperature is, we will tell you that the specialists recommend maintenance between 49 and 60 degrees. When you do not heat the foam enough, it will not keep its shape, and if you heat the milk too much, it will taste smoky or burnt, because you distort the proteins in the composition. For those who are really determined to create a perfect espresso, we recommend in this case a kitchen thermometer, at least until you start to get used to how the dish looks at the right parameters.
Opt for distilled water
It is said that the best water for espresso is distilled water, which allows the taste of coffee to manifest itself without interference. If your device is connected to the city's water network, it is recommended to integrate a filtration system that eliminates excess minerals and chlorine taste. If you manually pour water into the tank, it is good to use a filter, either installed in the sink or in the form of a cup, to get a better taste.