The 10 steps to making a great espresso

How many steps does it take to serve an amazing espresso? For us it’s 10! It may seem unlikely that each one of them is equally important, but experienced baristas know that one mistake could compromise the taste of a good cup of coffee.

Let’s see together the key things to consider when preparing espresso.

  1. Choose quality coffee: although it may seem like obvious advice, but picking the right ingredients is crucial, and you must remember that personal tastes are not necessarily those of your audience. Find an option that balances aroma, flavor and acidity well. If you are targeting passionate customers, consider having more than one blend to offer, so as to intrigue and satisfy all palates.
  2. Install a filtration system: we often forget that water is a real ingredient for coffee. Be sure to use a filtration system that ensures odor-free, ph-neutral water and protects the machine from damage due to limescale.
  3. Portafilter cleaning: run hot water over the empty portafilter to remove all the residue from the previous coffee that would bring an excessively bitter aftertaste into the new cup. Before adding the new coffee grounds, you can dry the portafilter to remove excess moisture.
  4. Choose a fine grind: espresso is extracted by pressure, water passes quickly through the beans and in a short time extracts all the flavors.
  5. Use a tamper to level the coffee powder. A flat, compact surface allows water to flow in all directions and ensures even extraction.
  6. Set the correct extraction temperature: some blends benefit from high temperatures, while others release more enveloping aromas with a few degrees less.
  7. Proceed with the extraction immediately after grinding so that the scents and aromatic properties of the product remain intact.
  8. Choose the right balance of coffee, water and temperature: each coffee has characteristics and aromas that are enhanced with different amounts and temperature of water. Experiment and find your perfect setting.
  9. Use warm cups: one trick to deliver consistently hot coffee is to pre-heat cups to 35-40 degrees Celsius by storing them over the extraction machine.
  10. Remember periodic maintenance of your equipment. Coffee machine cleaning is critical to maintaining high quality of coffee served.

Extra tip: remind your customers to stir their coffee before drinking it, even if they take it without sugar. It’s a detail that allows you to incorporate the stronger tones of the extraction-which usually go to the bottom-with the smoothness of the crema that is created on the surface.