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How to Make Espresso in 7 Simple Steps

You sigh in complete bliss as you leave the coffee shop and take the first sip of your drink. Nobody makes coffee quite like your favorite shop. What if we told you that with the right equipment, you could?

Learning how to make espresso isn’t too hard and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to save a few bucks by making a café quality cup every single morning in the comfort of your own home.

Ready to get started? Check out this espresso guide for everything you need to know to brew the perfect cup of joe.   

1. Choose Your Equipment 

The first step to making espresso is investing in the right equipment. The best espresso machines aren’t cheap but they’re worth it. They come in all sorts of different settings and features so be sure to do plenty of research before you pick one out. 

A good burr grinder won’t come cheap either but if you want your coffee grounds to be consistent, it’s a necessary purchase. Blade grinders are much cheaper but you’ll be able to taste the cheap in your drink. 

When it comes to choosing coffee beans, pretty much any high-quality dark roast blend will do. Other things you’ll need is a timer, tamper, and scale. It’s a lot of stuff and we won’t lie, it will hit your wallet pretty hard but it’s the price you pay to make quality espresso at home. 

2. Preheat Your Espresso Maker 

Now that you have all your equipment in front of you, it’s time to learn how to make espresso coffees with it. The first step is to turn on your espresso maker and allow it to preheat. 

This process can take up to 25 minutes to complete so make sure you give yourself plenty of time in the morning. If you do need to speed things along, you can brew a blank espresso shot. Essentially, making a cup of hot water. 

3. Prepare the Coffee Beans 

If you have an espresso machine that comes complete with a grinder, you can skip this step. If you don’t then keep reading. Set your grinder to its fine coffee setting. 

Set the portafilter on the scale and grind about 20 grams of freshly ground coffee into it. You may have a little lump of coffee grounds peeking up out of the portafilter. Even it out with your finger. 

4. Tamp the Coffee Grounds 

Next, you’re going to pack the ground down and get rid of any air pockets through a process known as tamping. Before you start tamping, it’s important that your coffee grounds are evenly distributed in the portafilter. You can do that by tapping the side of the filter. 

The secret to good tamping is to press straight down on the coffee grounds. If you don’t the entire thing will be uneven and your end product will taste off. Keep applying about 30 lbs. of pressure until it feels like the grounds aren’t going to budge anymore. 

Don’t feel bad if you don’t get this down right away. It takes time and practice to pull off the perfect tamp. We didn’t say your first time making espresso would go absolutely perfect. 

After you feel like you’ve tamped the grounds enough, brush any escaped coffee off the brim of the portafilter. You’re now ready to pull your first espresso shot. 

5. Create Your First Espresso Shot

Insert your portafilter into the machine and begin brewing. Start brewing as soon as you put the filter in place or you may end up burning your coffee grounds which doesn’t make for a good espresso drinking experience at all. 

Time how long it takes your machine to pull your shot. The sweet spot is around 30 seconds. If it takes any longer or shorter than that it means that you got something off when you were performing the steps above. 

Take the portafilter out and start from square one until your machine is pulling the shot within 30 seconds. The end product may have a bit of a sour taste otherwise. 

6. Steam Some Milk  

Pour your milk into the container and dip the steamer wand in a little bit below the surface of the liquid. Turn the wand on and froth the milk until it reaches the consistency that you want. 

For the best results, hold the steamer wand a little bit off-center while you froth. Pay attention to the heat. If the container gets to be too hot, stop frothing, or else your milk will have a burnt taste. 

On the flip side of this, if you don’t use enough heat then you’ll have bubbly unpleasantness instead of a silky froth. It might take you a couple of tries to get this right. 

7. Keep Practicing

The last step in how to make espresso at home is practice. It’s likely that you won’t make the perfect cup of coffee on your first try. Instead of getting discouraged when your drink comes out tasting slightly burned, go watch a few tutorials. 

There are plenty of videos out there that can walk you through the process and tell you how you can improve. There are also books that you can read. So, keep working at it! 

How to Make Espresso in the Comfort of Your Own Home

Do you want to replicate your favorite cafe drinks in the comfort of your house? Learning how to make espresso is an art form. It takes a lot of expensive equipment and practice to get it right.

Once you get the hang of it though, all your hard work will be worth it when you never have to spend five dollars for a cup of coffee again. 

Want to learn how to make even more tasty drinks at home? Check out the drinks section of our blog daily for more tutorials like this one.