Today I’m going to show you how I make espresso in 5 min.
How did I make espresso in record time? The Eddietrend technique. And in this case study I’m going to show you exactly how I did it, step-by-step.
Anyone can make an espresso, but not everyone can pull a perfect shot bursting with ripe flavors, a full syrupy body and satisfying sweetness that leaves you wanting more. Widely regarded as more art than an exact science, making perfect espresso requires dedication, consistency, and attention to detail.
There are a number of factors that are essential in determining the quality of your espresso, and although espresso methodology and preparation has undergone many changes ever since the invention of the espresso machine in the 19th century, there are a few pillars of the process that must be adhered to if you are hoping to pull consistently great coffee. In this article, you will be introduced to crucial brewing variables, the tools needed, and the process of making your own espresso.
It is important to remember that your espresso can only taste as good as the water you start with. Water that is too hard will not only hinder your ability to pull a great espresso shot, it will also compromise the durability of the machine. Water with noticeable odors or flavors will also throw off the taste of your coffee.
Espresso, as a method, requires finer coffee grounds than any other preparation method. The only way to achieve consistency, as well as fine the particle size necessary to brew espresso, is by using a burr grinder and never a blade grinder.
As any coffee aficionado knows, brew ratio is the heart of any espresso recipe. Brew ratio can be defined as the relationship between the amount of coffee put into the portafilter (the “dose”) and the weight of the resulting beverage in a cup (the “yield”). As an example, if you put 20g of ground coffee into the portafilter and pull 40g of an espresso shot, you will have a brew ratio of 20:40 or 1:2. Although there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to ratios, most coffee shops anywhere today use a 1:2 ratio. For the sake of ease and simplicity, you can start off with the same ratio (1g of coffee per 2g water).
Using a tamper to compact coffee grounds together to form a tight puck restricts the flow of water, forcing coffee and water to interact with appropriate pressure. Your tamping action should be firm and even, as an uneven tamp would result in water flowing through the easiest path, instead of saturating the grounds evenly. 30 to 40 pounds of even pressure is what you want to be applying to your tamp.
The SCA suggests water temperature be around 195–205° F (90.5–96° C) or just under boiling point. This has been found to be the ideal temperature as it is the point at which most flavor compounds dissolve in water. Some espresso machines feature temperature control and display which allows you to experiment with different brewing temperatures on your extractions. If your machine does not have an obvious control, go ahead and assume you are in the ballpark and just focus on adjusting other variables until you achieve the perfect shot.
The anchor of every espresso recipe, the dose is the weight of ground coffee that you are using to make an espresso. Most espressos served in cafes today are considered a “double shot”, which is around 2 fl oz of liquid espresso. With double espressos, you will most likely use something in the range of 18g to 21g of ground coffee. The first consideration when deciding on how large of a dose to use is the one recommended by the manufacturer of your basket. Check for a printed mass measurement on the side of your basket and try to stay within 1g of that number. If your basket does not have a recommendation outside “single” or “double”, pick a number between 18 and 21 for a double and start there.
Time measures the total contact time between your puck and brew water. It is measured in seconds and starts from the time you engage the pump and ends when the pump stops. Most espressos made in today’s cafes will have a time somewhere between 22 and 40 seconds. Quicker espressos generally have higher acidity and lighter body while slower espressos generally have more sweetness and heavier body. Leaning too far outside of this range will likely result in under-extracted or over-extracted coffee.
Tools of the Trade
With so many espresso machines available today to choose from, it can be daunting trying to make sense of which one is right for you. Although the requirements for home users are more forgiving than in coffee shops, it is still important to look for a machine that will provide consistent pressure and appropriate temperature.
One of the most common mistakes amateur coffee connoisseurs and home baristas make is to spend most of their budget on an espresso machine and treat the grinder as an afterthought. It is crucial to realize that quality espresso starts with an exceedingly consistent grind. As a matter of fact, you can usually offset a less pricey espresso machine with an exceptional grinder but never the other way around.
For espresso, make sure that you are using a burr grinder and not a blade grinder. Most people find success with grinders that offer tons of tiny stepped adjustments or a fully stepless adjustment that allows them the most control over their coffee extractions.
A basic but very important component for any espresso machine, a filter basket is designed to fit in portafilter handles. Filter baskets are essential as they help you achieve quality and consistent extraction. Your espresso machine may come with various basket options. We recommend you start with the “double” or the one rated for 18-21g of coffee.
A tamper is a tool used to pack or “tamp” coffee grounds into the basket of an espresso machine. Its purpose is to pack the grounds evenly for a great shot. When the coffee grounds are tamped properly, the water needs to force its way through the pile. This causes the water to interact with the coffee longer and run through the entire cake of ground coffee. This combo of time and even distribution will result in a full-flavored espresso shot. For consistent results, select a tamper that fits snugly in your portafilter basket.
The key to perfecting good coffee is finding the right ratio of ground coffee to water. Once coffee and water are measured, a scale enables you to repeat the same result every time. We recommend scales that are highly precise and have a quick refresh rate.
A shot glass, a gibraltar or a demitasse, it really does not matter particularly as long as it is large enough to catch your full extraction.
How to Make Espresso
- Fill your espresso machine’s reservoir or connect its waterline.
- Turn on the espresso machine and allow it plenty of time to heat up. It is very important that you let the machine reach a steady operational temperature. Once the machine is warmed up, let the group run for a few seconds in order to purge any stale water.
- Remember that you will need very finely ground coffee. A good way to check the fineness of your grind is by running a few beans through your grinder and rubbing the coffee between your fingers. It should feel like sand or maybe a little finer.
- Grind coffee into your portafilter. Start somewhere between 18-21g. Aim to distribute the ground coffee evenly throughout the basket by manual shaking or tapping method. You can also use a distribution tool.
- Tamp your coffee dose firmly and as evenly as possible. The best way to use a traditional tamp is by keeping your wrist, arm, and elbow all in line over the center of the basket. Doing so will not only help you avoid unnecessary strain, but it also keeps the force of your tamp distributed evenly across the basket.
- Lock the portafilter into the grouphead carefully and firmly. Be sure to avoid knocking the portafilter against anything to prevent cracking the coffee puck. Position your pre-warmed cup and scale beneath the portafilter outlet and start the brew, either by engaging the pump or engaging your pre-infusion setting.
- Switch off the pump just before the extraction reaches the desired yield and let the last few drips fill your brew.
- Stir, sip and enjoy your shot!
How to Clean Espresso Machine after Pulling a Shot
- Tamp the spent espresso grounds out of your portafilter into the knock box thoroughly.
- Using the grouphead, run some water over the portafilter to rinse coffee oils and debris from the screen.
- Use a paper towel to wipe the gunk off the shower screen. A clean shower screen allows the water to be distributed evenly and equally all over the packed grounds.
- Grab the drip-dried portafilter and wipe it off with a paper towel. The next time you dispense coffee grounds into the portafilter, make sure it is hot and dry. Wet spots will cause uneven extraction as well as clumping.
- Place the group handle back either into the group head or on top of the machine.
- Wipe down your espresso machine.
That’s how you can use the Eddietrend technique to make espresso.