Have you ever had one of those days when you’ve desperately needed a caffeine kick but couldn’t be bothered to get up and go out for your coffee needs? And instead, you had to settle for stewing in regret for not learning how to make espresso coffee at home. Well, don’t worry, it happens to the best of us!
Are you someone who barely has any time to breathe let alone time to pop outside for a coffee? Or someone who can’t justify spending just to feed the caffeine addiction? Perhaps you value your alone time and doesn’t want to leave the comfort of home? One way or another, you’ve got to at least wondered, “why not learn how to make coffee for myself?”
If this sounds like you, then you’ve definitely come to the right place. This article aims to explain in as simple a manner as possible and walk you through all you need to know about espresso and how to go about making it at home. After this, you’ll most likely be making your pots of delicious coffee in no time and saying goodbye to breaking the bank over your love of coffee!
Well, we say that, but let’s be realistic here. If you’re as in love with coffee as we think you are, then you’re definitely not going to be cutting out trips to great coffee shops any time soon. After all, there’s a reason why baristas have those huge, gleaming coffee machines and a professional job title–and it isn’t just for show. Usually. But by learning how to make espresso coffee at home, you can save those trips and that budget for only the knock-your-heart-out good places instead of settling for any place nearby that will provide you with that caffeine kick.
Interested? Read on!
Before you start brewing, you should take a moment to learn what exactly makes espresso what it is. By learning the important aspects of a good espresso, you’ll also know what to look for when you begin brewing your own.
So, the first aspect is the roast of the bean. A major aspect that all espresso drinkers love about the drink is the strong, potent flavor that you just can’t get with drip coffee. That dark finish and robust taste that the espresso is known for is much easier to attain or extract from a bean that has been roasted longer. You can identify these beans by their dark roasted color.
The reason for this is that beans that have been roasting longer are more porous, which means that there are more flavor compounds in those beans that are available to be extracted during the grinding process.
Speaking of grinding, that’s the next aspect to look at in an espresso. You’ll notice that beans for espresso coffee are usually ground finely. This fine grind increases the pressure needed to pump the water through the filter as it slows down the water penetration. A good coffee grinder can achieve this for you perfectly and effortlessly.
Alternatively, you could attempt to grind your beans by hand. But to get it to the consistency you need for espresso, well, you’re going to have to be someone heavily invested in working on their arms because every time you grind those beans for espresso, it’ll be just like a full day of arm work at the gym.
The topic of machines brings us neatly to our third point or aspect, which directly relates to the actual brewing process.
The third key ingredient to a good espresso is pressure. No, we’re not going to stress our ground beans with societal expectations. This pressure refers to the force needed to push water through the ground beans to produce that sweet, sweet coffee.
Did you know that your demitasse of espresso needs roughly nine times atmospheric pressure or about 130 lbs of pressure per square inch to come into existence? Yep! Now, obviously, unless you’re Superman reading this article, you couldn’t possibly produce the pressure needed to make an espresso. Worry not, however, because this is where to the how-to begins!
How to Make Espresso Coffee at Home?
For those of you who thought you would be able to make a great cup of espresso at home without any machines, well, we’ve got some bad news for you.
Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be producing any coffee through sheer willpower no matter how much you say you love coffee. You’re definitely going to need a coffee machine.
The good news is that you aren’t going to have to take up a second mortgage to purchase this machine!
Now, as we stated earlier, there’s no way you’re going to be pumping these cups of caffeine goodness with your bare hands. You need a machine. But, you aren’t stuck with just one machine to work with. Depending on your style and what’s easiest for you, there are three methods or machines to choose from:
- The Moka Pot
So, the Moka pot isn’t exactly an espresso maker, but there’s a reason it’s so beloved by coffee fans around the world–it’s easy and intuitive to use, and it makes great coffee too!
What you need to do is measure out your ground beans, around four teaspoons, then add enough water to reach the fill line of your Moka pot. Put the ground beans into the filter basket, attach the top, and place your assembled Moka pot on whatever stove top you’re using.
The water will start to boil, and the pressure will push the water into the grounds through the filter. Depending on your model, either listen for a hissing to indicate when it’s done or wait until the unit shuts itself off. Make sure to check that the crema, or that yummy foam, is there before you completely remove it from the heat!
- The AeroPress
This is another super easy to use machine–simply heat a cup of water, place the filter in the drain cap and give it a rinse with hot water before putting it into place directly over your mug.
Place your ground beans into the AeroPress, and press the grounds firmly. Put in about a half cup of that water you heated earlier into the AeroPress, and stir it. Then, plunge downwards firmly and steadily until the plunger is completely depressed. Remove the press from the mug and enjoy!
- The French Press
Ah, the French Press. You may think this is only suitable for bigger grinds, but you can get some decent espresso out of your French Press!
Set aside some freshly boiled water for about thirty seconds, grab your French Press and add your coffee grounds. Use around double the amount that you would normally use so that you can get that robust espresso flavor. Add a bit of that hot water to the French Press, and let it sit. After a few seconds, add the rest of the water in and try not to move it about as much as possible. Close the lid, and let it steep. After around five minutes, or a minute or two longer depending on how strong you want your flavor, press firmly on the plunger until it reaches halfway.
At the halfway mark, pull it up to the top before depressing the plunger all the way. Pour out your coffee, and enjoy!
So, those are the three methods of making espresso coffee at home! Hopefully one of these machines is to your style. But don’t worry, no matter which one you choose they’re all simple enough to use, and with some practice, you’ll definitely start producing some great coffee!