Choice of coffee beans
Espresso is a type of brewing method by exposing finely ground coffee powder to high brewing pressure up to 9 bar to obtain a small concentrated coffee beverage with complex flavours. To get such complex flavors, the choice of beans is the most important and is the deciding factor whether your espresso will taste amazing or completely undrinkable.
- Start by choosing whole espresso beans that are as freshly roasted as possible. Old coffee is more difficult to brew and usually gives a very bitter taste. The reason why you should choose whole beans is because pre-ground coffee will never give as good results as whole beans. You also lose the ability to choose your own grind level which is an important factor when it comes to getting good espresso.
- Always choose whole coffee beans that the roaster recommends for espresso brewing. It will usually say so on the coffee bag. If the roaster recommends the coffee for espresso brewing, it usually means that the coffee has its highest potential through that particular type of brewing.
- It is very important that the beans are ground just before brewing so that the coffee does not lose its good flavours and aromas.
Grind your espresso beans
Grinding for espresso brewing means that the coffee has to be ground much finer compared to brewing coffee. Hence, it is important that the coffee grinder itself is made for espresso brewing. Many grinders used for brewing coffee usually are not capable of grinding as finely as espresso requires. Therefore, before you buy an espresso machine make sure that you have a grinder that can grind coffee for espresso brewing. Many espresso machines for home use usually have an integrated grinder such as the Sage Barista Express, Sage Barista Pro and Sage Barista Touch which are one of the most popular choices. In such cases, you don't have to worry.
There are two different types of espresso grinders. The first is a grinder with conical grinding discs. The second is flat grinding discs and is most commonly used in commercial espresso machines and expensive home espresso machines. Both have their pros and cons but both types give very good results when it comes to the actual taste of the coffee.
Press the puck before brewing
The word "tamp" in espresso brewing means to press ground coffee in a cup into a compact puck. If the ground coffee is not evenly distributed in the cup, it can result in uneven brewing and leave a mixture of bitter and sour taste on the coffee. Therefore, it is important to consider getting the coffee evenly distributed in the beaker before pressing the puck.
temperature of the water you brew is an important part of the process. As a general rule, you should start with a brewing temperature of about 93 degrees. Usually espresso machines are already set to the correct brewing temperature from the factory but if they are not after measuring, you can change the brewing temperature on most espresso machines. Dark roast is usually recommended to be brewed at lower temperatures more towards 90 degrees while light roast requires higher temperatures of up to 96 degrees. If you want to know more about how brewing temperature affects the taste of your coffee and how you can use it to your advantage please read our article: Everything you need to know about espresso.