Cappuccino, mocha, Americano – when it comes to espresso, there are plenty of options to choose from. Though we’re a fan of a classic cup of coffee, nothing quite matches the bold taste of an espresso.
This concentrated form of coffee is often served in the form of a shot and acts as the base for a variety of coffee concoctions. It’s made from the same beans as normal coffee but comes with a stronger flavour and higher level of caffeine.
With that added caffeine boost, you might find yourself craving an espresso drink when you hit your afternoon slump. But the good news? You can make a barista-grade espresso without ever leaving your house.
If you’re new to the coffee scene and want to know more about how to make the perfect espresso, you’re in the right place because here are our favourite tips:
1. Use Fresh Coffee Beans
If you have a bag of beans that’s been sitting in your cupboard for months – bad news – they’re not going to make the best-tasting espresso! Coffee is a food item. Keep an eye on expiration dates and make sure you’re using beans when they’re at their most fresh.
Also, remember not to put your beans in the fridge or freezer. One of coffee’s many superpowers is that it works as a deodoriser, absorbing the different aromas inside your appliance – great for a stinky fridge but not for your morning coffee! No one wants an espresso that tastes like onions!
2. Use Filtered Water
Using hard water is a great way to reduce the shelf life of your espresso machine. And that’s not what we want! Over time, hard water can seriously damage your equipment, causing it to scale and malfunction. Soft water reduces these effects, keeping your machine in tip top condition for years to come.
Remember that 98% of espresso is actually water, so you want to use the best tasting water you have access to. Making espresso with bottled water or water from a filter is the way to go. And if you’ve been thinking of investing in a filtration device the BWT Bestaroma Premium is great for giving you that specialty coffee grade water at home without the hassle of a large filter under your sink!
3. Clean Your Machine Often
Yes, it’s easy to neglect your machine, as cleaning it can be tedious and time-consuming. But it’s worth it – we promise. Your espresso will taste better, and your machine will last longer. A win-win!
Be careful with the parts of your machine and read up on how to clean it properly. Here’s a great video from La Marzocco showing you how (and if you’re in the business for buying one of these for yourself you can do so here). Before long, it’ll become second nature for you to carve time out to clean your espresso maker!
Here are some of our favourite products for cleaning your machine:
- Cafetto Spectra Home Descaler Pack
- Cafetto EVO Espresso Machine Cleaner 1kg
- Rhino Coffee Group Head Brush
- Backflushing Blank Disc
4. Invest in a Proper Tamper
Unfortunately, run-of-the-mill espresso machines don’t often come with high-quality tampers. Instead, they tend to be lightweight and made of plastic, negatively impacting your extraction and, in the end, the taste of your espresso.
That’s why we love La Marzocco. Their products come with heavy-duty tampers that will last for years, ensuring you’re able to make espressos that have the exact taste you’re looking for. Each piece of equipment is essential when it comes to espresso machines! If a La Marzocco is out of budget – don’t worry – you can still find yourself a brilliant tamper that will get the job done! You can check out our range here.
5. Watch Your Doses
Though it might seem simple, we’ve known a friend (or two!) who didn’t quite understand the importance of choosing the correct dose for their espresso. Most at-home baristas attempt to eyeball their dose, but with the size of espresso being on the small side, minor mistakes can have a significant impact overall. Finding the right water to coffee ration is essential when it comes to making a perfect espresso. Coffee beans have different densities which means that using volumetric measurement as opposed to weighted measurements produces inaccurate results and therefore less tasty espresso!
Here are some of our favourites:
- Rhino Coffee Brewing Scale 3kg/0.1g – a huge improvement on the previous model, this beauty has an increased 3kg capacity and 0.1g accuracy, so will ensure delicious coffee every time.
- Brewista Smart Scale II 2kg/0.1g – these have a water-resistant nano-coating so you don’t need to worry if they get wet. You can just shake them off and let them dry out before starting up again! And with six clever modes, this is the smartest of them all!
- Rhino Digital Dose Scale 1000g/0.1g – small but mighty – these little pocket scales are brilliant for weighing out the dose in your filter basket or the extraction into an espresso cup. They have a tilted backlit digital display making for much easier viewing.
6. Prioritise Preheating
Espresso uses a small amount of liquid and can go from hot to cold in just a few minutes. That’s why it’s vital to preheat all equipment beforehand. By doing so, your drink won’t come into contact with anything that will significantly reduce its temperature. Preheat both your portafilter and cup before you get started.
7.Always Clean The Portafilter
If your portafilter is wet or has leftover coffee grounds inside of it, your espresso is going to have a more bitter taste. Always clean this part of your machine before getting started. It won’t take long and will ensure your brew has the delicious flavour you’re after!
8. Invest In A High-Quality Machine
Poor quality espresso machines are out there – we see them more than we’d like to. It’s why we only sell La Marzocco machines on our site. These products bring that café-quality espresso magic right to your kitchen.
Loved by baristas around the world, they’re perfect for those looking to invest in a machine that’s going to last for years. While they’re not cheap, you recoup the money you spent in the quality of the machine you receive. Where you might need to replace a less expensive model more frequently, you can be sure La Marzocco will stand the test of time. Take a look at our options here.
9. Have Some Fun
Remember that making espresso should be something you enjoy! There’s a world full of flavours out there for you to experiment with.
If you’re struggling to branch out, we get it! It can feel overwhelming sometimes with so much to choose from. That’s where our
So, there are a few things to consider when embarking on your espresso journey but as long as you follow these tips, we’re sure you’ll be creating coffee-shop-level brews from the comfort of your own home in no time!
Find out more about coffee Grinders.
- Where can I get my coffee grinder repaired?
- FAQ about coffee grinders
- 3 best grinders for getting into coffee
- Best coffee grinders for espresso
- Conical vs flat burrs grinders
- Everything you need to know about coffee grinders
- Awesome coffee grinders for French Press
- Can I use my Fellow Ode for espresso
- Electric coffee grinders for home brewing
- The best high quality grinders
- Upgrading your Baratza grinder
- Grinding by weight – Baratza Sette 270w
- How much are coffee grinders?
- The best grinders for home baristas
- What Coffee Grinders are the best?
- On demand and dosing coffee grinders
- Thinking about a manual coffee grinder?
- Where to buy coffee grinders
- Hand grinders for espresso and pour over
- The best electric grinders
- The best manual grinders