So coffee lovers the world over will have different ideas on how to make the perfect espresso, but the following method should produce a good quality cup.
The importance of good water should not be underestimated in making the ideal espresso. The water should be fresh, and should not have been left standing. It should be clean, so filter where necessary. The optimum temperature is just off the boil, at around two hundred and three degrees Fahrenheit.
Choose your coffee carefully. Pick an Arabica over the more common Robusta, which has more caffeine and less taste. An Arabica is a superior bean, and the best types are grown at an altitude of over three thousand feet. Unless you are going the whole hog and roasting the beans yourself, you should ensure you have fresh beans roasted in the past few days. You will be able to identify fresh beans from the smell.
When selecting your roast, it should be a dark, sweet one, such as French, Viennese or Italian. As you can see, the Europeans have the edge when it comes to good espresso roasts.
The beans should be ground in a burr grinder, which has cone shaped teeth on two plates, between which the beans are ground. The space between the plates determines how finely ground the coffee is, a sand-like consistency is ideal.
Try to ensure minimum exposure to the air as oxidation of the coffee reduces the quality and taste. The coffee may also absorb odors from the air which will give it a peculiar aroma and flavor.
A high quality and clean espresso maker is an advantage in making that perfect brew so it is worth investing in a good one that can easily be washed after use.
Once you have the ingredients together the espresso production process is simple. Switch on your espresso maker and run a cup of clean water through the machine, without coffee, just to warm it and ensure the system is dust free.
Add coffee grinds, and compress them slightly, as you might tobacco in a pipe, until they are just springy. Place the hopper securely into the espresso maker and start the process. Your perfect espresso should arrive a few seconds later.
For those that find straight espresso a little too much, you can combine a double shot with warmed and whisked organic milk to produce a cappuccino or latte. This can be topped with chocolate, nutmeg or cinnamon depending on your taste.