How to Make Espresso at Home
Types of Espresso Drinks
The foundation for all espresso-based drinks is obviously the straight shot of espresso. Although it is the tiniest cup of coffee, it is the starting point for some of your favorite drinks, some you didn’t even know existed! There are an abundance of drink variations to trigger everyone’s senses from the basic concentrated shot of straight espresso to get your morning off to a fabulous start, or a decaffeinated flavored espresso latte to take the chill off your cold evenings.
If you are a fan of milk-based espresso drinks with your espresso or prefer steamed milk in your drinks, the type of machine you purchase will come into play. Some of the most popular espresso drinks include espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, americanos, and cortados. The combinations of other drinks that incorporate different concentrations and/or drink additives are endless!
The Best Kind of Coffee Beans for Espresso
Typically, coffee beans from Brazil often are used for espresso drinks given their chocolate notes. Our proprietary blend for espresso is our Black Pearl Espresso (add link). This coffee has been hugely popular with our customers for years since it is versatile and delicious but more importantly its wide temperature band allows for even the novice barista to excel with espresso preparation. At 198 degrees the fruity notes will be more apparent and at 203 degrees the darker, richer, chocolate notes will come through.
How to Properly Grind Your Espresso
Often times the most overlooked part of making great espresso at home is the grind of the coffee! Pre-ground coffee off the shelf will never do your cup justice. Investing in a high-quality grinder will ensure you get consistently great tasting coffee time and time again. There are different grind types ranging from super fine to rather coarse. Ground coffees off the shelf traditionally fall somewhere in the middle range. Having a grind too fine or too coarse will result in unwanted outcomes while having your own grinder allows you to tweak your grind to your own personal preferences.
Typically, for espressos you are looking for a grind that is fine but resists clumping. Too fine, however, will result in not allowing the water to flow properly to ensure that perfect cup.
Recommended Espresso Machines
There are several home espresso machines on the market today. It is extremely important to purchase your espresso machine from a reputable and reliable sales source who can provide ‘service after the sale’ on your investment. Chris’ Coffee is that company who will guide you through the various stages of espresso machine ownership and has qualified technicians, baristas, and sales staff for all those needs.
The Lelit Bianca is a wonderful choice of machine for those who mainly are interested in making straight espresso shots. She has a flow control device built in which adjusts the extract flow and will turn down any acidity and remove any bitterness from darker roast beans. Her pre-infusion and bloom time adjustment features will saturate the puck to avoid channeling and enrich your flavor.
The Izzo Alex Duetto machine is known for his huge boiler and steaming power that also runs in 20 amp allowing more milk-based drinks to be created more quickly. This machine is a more analog and mechanical unit which equates to a much easier machine to maintain.
The Spaziale Mini Vivaldi is a great machine if you are not a fan of having to ‘babysit’ your espresso making! Once it is set up it will begin and end extraction without you having to do anything else! There is a front-loading reservoir if cabinet height becomes an issue for your machine placement and there are temperature and steam controls making this a wonderful addition to your setup.