For many, espresso is the purest form of coffee. Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy was the first person to create an espresso machine. He received a patent for it in 1884, but it didn’t become popular until Luigi Bezzerra and Desiderio Pavoni became involved in the early 20th century. Both made significant improvements to the espresso machine.
Pavoni decided to market this new process for coffee as espresso, meaning “made on the spur of the moment.” As the Pavoni machine became more popular, copycats began to pop up throughout Italy. It’s no surprise – these machines were able to produce at least 100 cups of coffee every single hour. That is a massive speed increase compared to old methods. This is where the word “espresso” came to prominence.
Home brewing espresso can be a little difficult, but once you have all the right tools, it becomes much easier. From there the challenge is about developing the skill to create the perfect shot, which will be a healthy balance of viscosity, sweetness, and fullness.
Remove your portafilter from the espresso machine’s grouphead. Place the portafilter on a scale and tare the weight. Then purge the grouphead with hot water.
For a double shot, grind between 18–21 grams of coffee into your basket. The proper grind is crucial to a balanced, delicious shot of espresso. This needs to be a highly fine grind.
From here evenly distribute the coffee by drawing a finger across it in a series of alternating swipes. It is most effective to alternate sides in a series of 90 degree increments (top to bottom, then left to right, and so on).
Place your portafilter on a clean, flat surface and position your tamper level on top of the grounds. Without driving your palm into the tamper’s base, apply pressure downward with just enough pressure seal the coffee in evenly. Give the tamper a gentle spin. This will smooth, or “polish,” the grounds for an even extraction
Position the portafilter in the grouphead and start your shot. We recommend pulling it into a pre-heated ceramic demitasse.
The shot should start with a slow drip, then develop into a gentle, even stream. Near the 30 second mark, the extraction will end, causing the shot to thicken and start “blonding,” or turning yellow.
Stop the shot just as this process begins. It is up to you what you do at this point. Some people like to stir a shot after it’s been pulled; some like to sip immediately in order to experience its many layers of flavor.
Enjoy and remember to practice, practice, practice!