How To Make A Good Espresso Step by Step Guide
For me anyway, there is nothing quite like a good cup of espresso. In my many travels around Europe, I find that no country gets it as good as the espresso you find in Italy. For me it is consistently the best, and believe me, I have drunk a lot of coffee, in quite a few countries.
It should not be that hard to get this right of course, but for some reason, the espresso you get in many countries is just pretty bad. In this article I want to share with you exactly how to make a great espresso.
Making the Perfect Espresso
Do you need a high end espresso coffee machine? It certainly helps if you have one, but you can get a fantastic espresso from a simple stove top espresso pot. After water, it is now estimated, that coffee comes in at number two on our favourite list of drinks.
Up and down the streets of the UK, hundreds of thousands of people enjoy a freshly brewed espresso every day. Now in the UK, it is fairer to say that most people use the espresso, as the core part of their Americano, Latte or Cappuccino.
I drink all of those too, but sometimes it just really nice to add a nip of sugar to a small shot of espresso, and sit back and enjoy the wonderful aroma and taste. Here is how I go about this.
Picking the Right Coffee Beans
It starts with picking the right bean. Get that part wrong, and you can forget about making a good espresso. There are two types of coffee bean namely Arabica and Robusta. Avoid the Robusta at all costs, as it is a cheap bean with a harsh taste. You can find out more about coffee types by clicking here.
So make sure that you pick a good quality Arabica coffee bean. There are hundreds of these to pick from. So which one do you pick? That will depend on how strong you like your coffee taste. Some people like one that has a kick like a mule, and others like something that is mild and pleasing.
It is almost impossible for me to pick which one you will like the most. What I can do is share with you the beans that I use and like the best. Those are the Lavazza Crema e Aroma Coffee Beans. Those beans are made in Torino Italy, and I am a Lavzza fan.
This bean has been roasted quite slowly and for me it delivers a very rich flavour with no bitter after taste. Its is strong enough for me especially in the morning time, and I like it as a breakfast coffee.
My first preference for coffee beans is always illy, however they can be expensive. I use those more as a treat, and Lavazza for my daily coffee drinking. Both these brands make a really nice crema, and many people like that, including me.
This Lavazza Crema one is an affordable choice for most people though.
Now for the Espresso Grind
Now that you have fresh beans it is of course time to grind them properly. To do that you should use a burr grinder with a fine setting. Personally I use the Delonghi KG79 to do that for me. There are plenty of burr grinders on the UK market, but this is the one that I like at an affordable price.
I don’t want my coffee grinds as fine as dust, but just a little coarser than that. You may need to experiment a little with that to get it just right, but once you find that grind, then you can use it time after time.
Water for an Espresso
Most areas in the UK have what is called hard water. Yes that is the kind of water that causes a scale to build up in kettles, teapots and irons. By the way it will also build up in your coffee maker, if it is not cleaned on a regula basis.
The normal tap water is literally full of chemicals from the water treatment plants. It is the reason a lot of people have switched to bottled water. I like to use filtered water, which is simple to do with a water filter jug. It really does make your coffee and espresso taste a great deal better.
Brewing Your Espresso
OK, now we have our beans, we have a nice fine grind, and we have some filtered water. If you own an espresso machine I am sure you know how to use that, so I will not bore you with the details.
If you are thinking of buying one, then I would recommend the Excelvan 15 Bar Pump Espresso Italian Style Coffee Machine, which you can read about by clicking here.
If you don’t own one of these then I would recommend a stove top espresso. The Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker is for me the best one on the market in terms of value for money and also very high quality.
Again I will not bore you with how to use one of these, but I have attached a video below of one being used.
Summary of Making the Perfect Espresso
- Your bean choice is the most important thing. I do like to experiment and suggest that you do exactly the same. Buy coffee beans in small amounts, even sample packs and just try them out.
- Then invest in a good quality affordable burr grinder. You can check out my article here on the top 5 burr grinders for under £50. That will allow you be be able to get a fine enough grind for an espresso quality coffee.
- Then make sure to filter your water, instead of just using tap water.
Now I know that for some people, the steps I have listed above may sound a bit over the top. Initially I agree they do involve some cost and a fair bit of effort. However, once you have it set up, then making the perfect espresso on a consistent basis becomes very easy.
Luigi Bezzera, invented Espresso at the turn of the century, when he was trying to find a way to brew coffee faster. The method he used was to add pressure to the brewing process. Hence the name espresso meaning fast.
This faster method also improved the quality as the beans were no longer over extracted. Desidero Pavoni bought the rights from Mr. Bezzera for the espresso machine, and he did a very good job at marketing the product.
If you have an espresso machine and freshly ground beans, it does only take about 20-40 seconds. That is fast enough for me. The stovetop will take about 10-15 minutes.
Finally keep your beans as fresh as you can, and only ever grind what you are going to use at any given time. Always store your coffee in a container that is airproof and clean. Then keep that in a cool dark area. Never keep them in the fridge as that is a huge mistake.
Hopefully you have found this article on how to make a great espresso helpful.