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The simple fact of the matter is that your ability to make a truly cafe-grade espresso at home is going to come down to two things: an investment in quality machinery (we love De Longhi's La Specialista) and your willingness to experiment as a self-taught barista.
Here are a few tips and best practices to get started:
1. USE THE FRESHEST BEANS
Remember, a cup of coffee is only as good as the beans you start with.
2. CLEAN YOUR PORTAFILTER
Before trying to make your espresso make sure you clean your portafilter. The combination of moisture or leftover grounds will leave your beverage taste over-extracted and bitter.
3. DOSE CORRECTLY
When grinding your gourmet coffee beans, make sure you use the proper amount. This way, you are sure that your extraction is correct, and the proper dosage is dispensed.
Tamp the grounds and pack the level. The proper tamp method is to hold your elbow at 90 degrees, rest your portafilter on a level surface and apply equal pressure until the coffee is level.5. TIMING IS KEY
Insert the portafilter and start brewing immediately after tamping. Place the portafilter back in the machine and get your timer ready.6. BE AWARE OF THE YIELD & BREW TIME
Depending on your machine and the tamp, the deal brewing time is 20-30 seconds.
After this, it's all about practice. The key to making a good espresso, is really about tinkering to make sure you have the right grind setting and coffee amount to make sure that the coffee isn't being under or over-extracted. Great espresso can be a tricky art to master, but as lockdown stretches out before us, it’s seems well worth putting in the time to elevate your at-home caffeine game
Good luck and let us know how you get on by tagging @toplcup on any social media channel.