Espressos are made by brewing approximately 30 mL of water at 9 bars pressure at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The espresso is typically brewed in 25 seconds. The exact parameters must be matched to brew that perfect cup of espresso, that’s why espressos have historically been prepared by Baristas in a coffee shop. However, a lot of modern espresso makers are able to make a comparable espresso.
There are two types of commercial coffee beans on the market; Arabica and Robusta. The Robusta coffee bean is typically used for commercial, mass production coffees. Over 90% of espressos are made with the Arabica bean. This bean can only be found in Sumatra, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, and Hawaii.
The Arabica beans are heated at a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit in a rotating drum. The drum rotates to heat the beans evenly. A process known as heat paralysis is used to bring the oils to the surface of the bean. By bringing the oils to the surface of the bean, the roaster is able to control the darkness of the bean. This process is time dependant. You’ll notice that French or Mahogany beans that are common in espressos are very glossy and shiny. This is because the oils have been brought to the surface and have made the bean darker. The dark beans have less caffeine and are less acidic than the other beans that are available.
The grind that you use with your espresso maker is vitally important. You want to grind your coffee beans just before you brew, because most of the good flavors are volatile organics that will evaporate when grinding occurs. It’s also important for you to get the right grind size. Grinding too large will allow water to move to quickly in the espresso machine and will leave a lot of extracts and good flavor behind. If you grind too fine or small of a bean size, then you run the risk of plugging up the water flow through your espresso machine.
When you are grinding beans to use in your espresso maker, you want to use a burr grinder. The burr grinder uses a meal wheel to pulverize the bean. This differs from the typical grinder that uses a blade. The difference is that the burr machine will grind consistent coffee bean grounds. The typical commercial grinder will have grounds that are all shapes and sizes, which greatly affect the functionality of your espresso machine.
A typical espresso has fourteen to seventeen grams of coffee in a double shot. The espresso machine that you use should be capable of brewing at a temperature of 195 to 202 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, it is vitally important that the espresso machine can brew at a pressure of 6 to 8 bars. The pressure is important, because it affects the quality of extraction from the coffee bean.
When looking at espresso machines, you probably want to rule out any kind of hand lever or manual espresso machine. These machines are inferior, because they won’t be able to maintain an accurate amount of pressure for good espresso bean extraction. This also rules out electric machines.
The ideal espresso machine is a semi automatic espresso machine. It should have three switches; a power switch, brew switch, and frothing switch. There should be a knob for routing the steam into the frother. The espresso machine should have a portable filter that fits snuggly into the diffuser head. Also, the drain should be easily removable for cleaning. It is also ideal for the espresso maker reservoir to be easy to get to.
When you’re getting ready to brew your first espresso in your espresso maker, you should first grind the beans in your burr grinder. Place the coffee grounds into the portable filter and use a tamper to press the coffee. You should apply 40 to 50 lbs of pressure using the tamper. You can use the tamper on a bathroom scale to help you learn the correct amount of force to apply. Find two one ounce shot glasses to properly measure your espresso. When brewing an espresso, you want to make sure that the time between the start of the flow to the 1 ounce mark is between 20 and 30 seconds. If your brew time is not between 20 and 30 seconds, then you need to adjust your grind size accordingly.
If you like to make lattes or cappuccinos, then you will want to use your espresso machine frother. You should steam milk until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. It is best to use a thermometer and keep the frother tip just off the bottom of the frothing container. When you are ready to add froth to your milk, move the container such that the frother tip is less than one inch under the surface. This should help you create a creamy and frothy milk.
- Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine
- La Pavoni Espresso Machine
- Krups Espresso Machine
- Saeco Espresso Machine
- Nespresso Espresso Machine
- DeLonghi Espresso Machine
- Breville Espresso Machine
- Gaggia Espresso Machine
- DeLonghi ESAM6600 Gran Dama Espresso Machine
- Nespresso D290 Concept Espresso Machine
- Nespresso Essenza Automatic Espresso Machine
- DeLonghi BAR32 Retro Pump-Driven 35 ounce Espresso Maker
- Nespresso Le Cube C185 Espresso Machine
- Gaggia Evolution Espresso Machine
- DeLonghi ESAM3500 Magnifica Digital Super Automatic Espresso and Coffee Machine