So, finally, you have got your dream espresso machine, but while brewing coffee, you’re finding it quite complex to use. This article aims to clear the fog about How to Make espresso and help you learn the correct way to use an espresso machine – both manual and automatic (or semi-automatic).
From improving long-term memory, mood, and concentration to reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack – considering the health benefits of espresso, it won’t be an exaggeration to call it a wonder drink. Besides, for the true lovers of caffeinism, nothing can beat the boldness and caffeine kick offered by a shot of espresso.
Granted, enjoying a cup of freshly brewed espresso may be a matter of minutes when you order it from a local cafe. However, brewing your espresso at home helps you develop a pinnacle of connection to your drink, making your espresso experience even more cherishable. The job of brewing espresso at home has become pretty accessible with the contemporary functional espresso machines.
Though they are easy to use and need the least manual work for the brewing, you may find using an espresso machine a bit tricky as a newbie. But that never means you will refrain from enjoying the delectability of fresh, homemade espressos just because you don’t know how to use an espresso machine.
To guide you through the brewing process of espresso makers, we have curated this post. Keep reading and discover how you can make the most of your home espresso maker!
Still in dilemma about which machine to buy; read our Guide – Best Espresso Machines for Home
How to make Espresso – Using an Espresso Machine
Making Espresso with a Semi-Automatic / Automatic Espresso Machine
- 1 Automatic / Semi-automatic Espresso Maker
- 1 Water filter
- 1 Coffee grinder ( If your espresso maker doesn’t have one )
- 1 Tamper
- 6-8 grams Finely Ground Beans
- 100 ml Water (Water required will be pulled automatically by an espresso machine)
- Fill the reservoir. Every semi-automatic or automatic espresso machine comes with a clearly labeled reservoir. Typically, the reservoir features lines that indicate the water level required for a double or single-shot espresso. You can pour filtered water into your espresso reservoir. However, several espresso makers hold a built-in filter.
- Once you have poured water into the reservoir of your espresso machine, it's time to switch on the power button. After pressing the button, wait for a while. You will see that a series of lights are flashing up. It's an indication that your espresso machine is ready to use. The indications may vary depending on the manufacturer. So, consider referring to your instruction manual.
- Once your machine is ready, it's time to take out the portafilter from under the spout of your espresso machine. This filter contains a shot basket that you can fill according to the size of your brew. You need to put a single or double-shot basket into that portafilter. For double shot, double the coffee grounds to about 15 grams.
- After setting up the portafilter with a shot basket, you should now add your coffee grounds to the filter. Fill the filter carefully and if any loose grounds get on the side of the filter, gently wipe them off with your fingers.
- Take a tamper to compress the coffee grounds poured into the basket. Pushing down your beans with a tamper guarantees strong-tasting shots of espressos. Keep on pushing until your coffee grounds are compressed nicely and compactly.
- When you are done pressing your coffee grind into the filter, it's time to lock the filter onto the head. Typically, for most espresso machines, you will need to twist the filter a bit. You will probably hear a clicking sound that says that the filter is locked precisely.
- After locking the filter, take your cup and place it under the spout of the faucet. Always take a cup that can hold your shot properly.
- Every espresso machine comes with dedicated shot buttons. Push the single shot button for pulling a single shot of espresso or the double shot button for two shots of espresso. Your job is done, and your machine will take care of the rest. It takes about 25-30 seconds for a shot. Once it's done brewing, it will pour the espresso into your cup.
- The golden ratio for single shot espresso is 1 : 2.
- Remember, using a single shot basket for a double shot espresso or vice versa may ruin your espresso experience. Thus, before filling the basket, check well that you have picked up the right one.
- It’s highly recommended to use fresh and finely ground coffee beans to make the most out of your espresso experience. Most espresso machines come with built-in grinders. Feel free to use them for grinding your coffee beans to perfection.
- If your espresso machine requires a manual press down for dispensing water, hold the dedicated button for about 35-40 seconds. This way, your machine will be able to dispense about 2 ounces of water.
Using your Espresso machine for Frothing Milk to make Specialty Drinks
When you have a semi-automatic or automatic espresso maker handy, your brewing options cross the boundary of simple espresso shots, and you can make specialty espresso-infused drinks like mocha, latte, macchiato, etc. Typically, espresso machines come with a steam wand. In case the model you are using doesn’t have one, you can simply buy stand-alone frothing equipment.
Now to make espresso beverages with steamed or frothed milk, take a pitcher and fill it ⅓rd of the way up with milk. Now, place the tip of your steam wand into the milk and keep it to one side of the pitcher. Press the button to turn the steam wand on and let the milk swirl. Gradually, a whirlpool will form, and the milk will become double in size.
At this stage, switch on the wand and use that nicely textured foamy milk to make a cappuccino, latte, mocha, or macchiato.
Read Detailed Guide – How to Froth and Steam the Milk
How to Clean and Maintain your Espresso Machine?
If you own a semi-automatic or automatic espresso machine, you should maintain them periodically to boost their brewing ability. Here’s how you can maintain your favorite espresso machine-
- It’s worth remembering that every espresso machine is different. Thus, when it comes to making your espresso ready for brewing, you should essentially go through the manufacturer’s instructions. In case you have lost the manual, you can simply go ahead and perform an online search with the model number of your espresso machine. Download the PDF and read the instructions thoroughly before you start using your gizmo.
- You should pour only cold and clean water into the water reservoir of your espresso machine. Using warm or dirty water may break down the reservoir of the machine. Therefore, always use clean tap or bottled water. In case you are using tap water, don’t forget to filter it to ensure its cleanliness.
- Don’t forget to perform a cleanup whenever you use your espresso machine. Be it a portable or counter-top maker, don’t overlook the necessity of running the filters under the faucet. It will allow you to remove the grinds. In addition, you should also clean the faucet of the machine to remove spills.
Your espresso queries are all caught up! Go ahead and apply the shared tricks while brewing delectable espresso with your dear espresso maker and enjoy the bliss of brewing amazing shots at home anytime you want.
Should I turn off my espresso machine at night?
It’s not only about the night, but whenever you don’t intend to use your espresso maker for at least the next 6-8 hours, you should turn it off. It will help you save energy. Besides, you won’t put more wear on certain parts of your machine. However, remember that turning it on and off every now and then is never an appreciable idea.
Should I clean my espresso machine after every use?
Technically yes; however, if you are using it on a daily basis, only the after cleanup won’t help. In that case, you will have to deep clean your espresso maker with a dedicated espresso machine cleaner at least once a week.
Is back-flushing necessary for my espresso machine?
Back-flushing is an integral part of espresso machine maintenance. Through this process, water and cleaner are forced back to the system’s over-pressure valve. It ensures the removal of any built-up, keeping the valve healthy and optimally working. Ideally, you should back-flush your espresso machine at least once a week.
How long does an espresso machine take to heat up?
The heating-up time of an espresso machine depends on its quality. The standard espresso machine may take up to 20-35 minutes to heat up. It’s worth remembering that the better temperature stability a machine holds, the more time it will take to reach a stable extraction temperature.
Can I boil water in my espresso machine?
Typically, most prosumer-level espresso machines feature hot water taps. If you have one, you can definitely boil water in your espresso machine. However, single boiler machines lack this feature and don’t let you boil water in your espresso machine.