The United States is a nation of coffee lovers with demand for at-home preparation booming — 79% of American adults say they prefer making coffee at home, compared to just 36% who typically head to cafes and other non-home locations for their caffeine fix, Reuters reports. Preparing your own espresso at home may seem like a challenge to anyone other than experienced baristas. However, it’s a skill anyone can learn with enough practice and care.
Use a coffee machine
A high-quality, commercial-grade coffee machine is essential for making consistently delicious espresso every time. Professional machines are easy to use — you don’t need any special skills — and can provide you with velvety espresso and fine microfoam. Be sure to look for a machine with programmable timed dosing, which gives you control over the beginning and end of the extraction process. Additionally, an extended articulating steam arm will help ensure improved heat distribution as well as provide aeration for beautifully smooth microfoam.
Pay attention to water
A great tasting coffee relies on using purified water in the brewing process. If your water contains impurities, you’ll be able to taste them. Connecting your espresso machine to a water filtration system can make this step even easier. It’s also important to bring the water to just the right temperature — ideally 200 F. If the water’s boiled, the coffee will overheat and the flavor will be diminished. On the other hand, using water that’s too cold results in an unappealing, flat, and bland coffee.
Tamping is an essential part of extracting espresso that takes practice to master. The grounds should be well-packed with a smooth surface to enable the water to pull out sufficient flavor — use a firm, consistent pressure. Leaving the grounds loose and fluffy will result in subpar flavor extraction. If your grounds are fine, however, you’ll need to tamp with less pressure. After you’ve finished tamping the coffee grounds, it’s important to handle them carefully so as not to ruin your efforts. Also remember to brush away excess grounds or powder to allow for a clean pull. Finally, investing in a decent tamper will help you achieve a consistent and level tamp. See this guide to the best espresso tampers.
Making your own espresso at home is fun, rewarding, and cheaper than visiting your local coffee stop. These simple tips will help you create a delicious caffeinated beverage every time without ever needing to leave the house.