Pulling a really good shot of espresso takes time, patience, a little bit of science and a little bit of art. Weight and grind matter. Time and temperature matter. Click here to see a really good Espresso Shot. It tastes as good as it looks!
Here are a few pointers on brewing a great shot of Espresso:
Before you start your shot, run water through the portafilter and without espresso. Warming will ensure that your shot’s temperature is maintained throughout the process.
Grind your beans right before you pull your shot. The grind texture is a very important aspect of shot quality: If it’s too fine, it will result in a slow, over-extracted shot that can taste bitter and burnt; if it’s too coarse, it will be a fast, under-extracted shot with a weak and watery consistency and sour notes. A good trick is to “pinch” the ground espresso. The espresso should clump slightly, yet loosely. The ultimate test is in the brew but this will get you close!
The proper dose for a double shot should be between 14 – 18 grams, depending on your espresso machine and personal preference.
The tamp ensures uniformity of extraction by leveling and packing the grounds to ensure equal, consistent water contact as it is forced through the coffee. The pressure you use is ultimately up to you; the 30lbs of pressure is a standard in the commercial coffee industry.
A good espresso machine should yield an ounce of liquid between 18-24 seconds.
You want to create a crema atop a rich dark brew that tastes sweet and smooth. It’s well worth the time to experiment and learn how to pull the perfect shot from your espresso machine — the result will be excellent espresso drinks every time.
A few things you should invest in to help pull a great shot: a scale to ensure a 14-18 gram dose; a thermometer to ensure your machine is brewing hot enough and a timer to time your shots as they brew!
Remember – part science, part art and a sense of adventure will yield fantastic espresso. Have fun with the process. If it taste good, it is good.