In order to produce a good espresso, you need to set the following settings; grind level, coffee amount, espresso amount and time. All of this may sound overwhelming and difficult to understand but we'll walk you through it step by step!
Before you start setting up your espresso machine, you will need the following:
- Digital scale that can be set under the espresso machine. We recommend buying a digital coffee scale as it is small and compact and has a built-in timer. We'll explain why a little later.
- Whole espresso beans. Do you want to know our favorite click here!
- Porter filter, tamper and double shot cup.
Before we start going through the practicalities, you need to understand how coffee amount, grind level and time are related.
In order to get a good espresso, it is commonly said that for every gram of ground coffee, you should get 2 grams of espresso. What does this mean in practice? We recommend that you grind about 18g of beans for a double shot cup. So you are aiming to get about 36g of espresso out of 18g of ground coffee.
Why time is so important!
The time to brew 36g of espresso should take about 20 to 30 seconds. Then comes the question, why would you need to know this? The reason is that if it were to take less than 20 seconds for the machine to brew 36g of espresso, the machine would not have time to take all the flavors out of the coffee and thus you would get a very watery and sour espresso. If the machine brewed over 30 seconds for 36g of espresso, your espresso would taste very burnt with a strong bitter aftertaste. Therefore, the golden rule of espresso is that it should take between 20 to 30 seconds for 36g of espresso.
Now we can start the fun and set up the machine!
In order to start from reliable values, we will weigh 18g of beans for each individual test until we get what we are looking for: 36g of espresso in the time between 20-30 seconds.In this setup guide, we use a single-wall double shot cup that comes with your espresso machine.
The grinder has a 16-step grind. Start by setting it to grind level 8 using the knob on the right of the machine. Weigh 18g of whole espresso beans and then pour into the grinder. Grind it all out so you know there is exactly 18g of ground coffee in your portafilter.
#2 Squeeze the puck
Press the puck using the tool called the "Tamper". Then put the portefilter with the pressed coffee into the machine.
#3 Prepare for testing
Place a coffee cup of your choice on your digital scale, zero it and then place it under the espresso machine.
#4 Start Brewing!
Now we get to the interesting part! Take out your phone's timepiece. Start by pressing the "Program" button on the machine. After you press it, it will flash. The next step is to press the double shot button. When you feel ready, press the button while starting your timer. When you see that the scale shows 36g of espresso, stop the brewing by pressing the button again.
#5 Analyze and try again!
As we said before, the goal is to get 36g in 20 to 30 seconds. If your timer shows a time under 20 seconds, grind the beans finer by lowering the grinding level on the mill. 1 on the mill scale means finely ground and 16 means coarsely ground. So the lower the number, the finer you will grind. If your time is higher than 30 seconds, you should grind coarser.
#6 Do it again until you are satisfied!
Repeat the process in step 4 until you reach a time between 20 to 30 seconds by changing the grinding level. When you are satisfied with the setting, the machine will automatically save the last brew. So the next time you want to brew your espresso, all you have to do is press the double-shot button once.
This guide is for you to get started quickly with getting a reasonably good espresso. All beans are different and all have different flavours, so it's good to keep in mind that when you have a time between 20 to 30 seconds but don't think it's good enough, experiment further! Some espressos are good at a time of 20 seconds while others can be good at 28 seconds brewing time. The taste can also be varied by changing the brewing temperature. As I said, there is a lot you can experiment with.