How to Make an Espresso (Espresso Machine Coffee)
Fresh espresso is a treat when it’s made correctly. If you can’t get to the local coffee shop for your daily shot, use an espresso machine at home. Purchase your favorite beans and grind them for espresso. Ensure that your machine is clean and full of filtered water before you prepare the espresso. You’ll need to take out the portafilter (the handled brew basket) and fill it with espresso. Tamp (pack) the espresso down, so it extracts evenly and put it back into the machine. Start (pull) the shot and you should see creamy espresso drip into your cup. Remember to clean your machine and enjoy your handcrafted espresso!
Part One of Three:
Choosing and Grinding the Espresso Edit
Select the roast. Espresso refers to the method of preparation and the grind of the beans, not the roast level. Choose any roast level you prefer for your espresso. Roast levels can vary by region, so try several to find a level that you enjoy the most. Keep in mind that you might prefer different roasts for different purposes. 
- For example, if you’re drinking the espresso straight, you might want a single-origin bean that’s not roasted very dark. Or if you’ll be making the espresso into a latte or cappuccino, you might want a darker roast that will stand up to the milk.
Buy your beans. If you’re buying your beans from a coffee shop, ask when they were roasted. While you want fresh beans, you don’t want beans that were roasted within the last day or two, since they’ll still be releasing carbon dioxide. Purchase and use beans that were roasted 5 to 12 days earlier. 
- If you’re buying your beans from a store, check the label on the bag to find the roast date.
Grind the espresso. If you have a high-quality burr grinder, use it to grind enough beans for one espresso shot. The burrs will do a better job of grinding the beans than a cheap metal blade. Grind the espresso on one of the finest settings, so the beans are as fine as granulated sugar. Grind enough beans to get about 7 grams of espresso. You’ll use this to pull one 1-ounce (30 ml) shot. Or you could use 14 grams to make a double shot. 
- If the beans are ground too coarsely, the water will run through them too quickly, so the flavor won’t develop. If they’re too fine, the shot will pull for too long which could make the espresso bitter.
- If you don’t have a grinder, you can ask your local coffee shop to grind the beans on their espresso setting.
Store any unused espresso. Although you should only grind enough espresso to use right away, if you have extra espresso, you can store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Try to use the leftover espresso as soon as you can, since the espresso will lose its flavor the longer it’s stored. 
- Avoid storing the espresso or beans in a refrigerator or freezer. These spaces can introduce moisture which will damage your beans.
Part Two of Three:
Preparing the Machine and Portafilter Edit
Heat the espresso machine. Turn on the machine about 15 to 30 minutes before you plan to use it and pull a blank shot, so the machine has a chance to heat up. If your machine isn’t connected to a water source, pour water into the tank and ensure that the portafilter is in the machine. Turn the machine on to pull a blank shot of water through the brewhead and into an espresso cup or shot glass. 
- While all machines are different, you’ll just need to practice to learn the specifics of using your machine. Read your espresso machine’s manual to learn how it should be used.
- The hot water will also warm up the espresso cup or shot. Dump the water out right before you’re ready to pull the actual espresso shot into it.
Fill the machine’s tank with water. If your machine isn’t connected to a water source, you’ll need to fill it with clean, filtered water. The machine should heat the water between 197 and 204 degrees F (92 and 96 C). Properly heated water is important to extract all of the flavor compounds of the espresso. 
- Avoid using tap water because it contains minerals that can clog your espresso machine over time. If you use tap water, you’ll need to descale your machine frequently.
Remove the portafilter and put it on a scale. Take the portafilter out of the machine and use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the inside dry. Be careful, since the portafilter should be hot from being in the machine. If you’re new to dosing, set the portafilter on a digital scale and tare it, so it registers zero. 
- If you’ve practiced dosing and just know how much espresso to use, you can skip weighing out the espresso. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to occasionally check your dosing for accuracy.
Dose the espresso. Place about 7 grams of ground espresso beans into the dry portafilter if you’re making a single one-ounce (30 ml) shot. For a double shot, place 14 to 18 grams of ground espresso beans in the portafilter. Check the digital scale to ensure you’re dosing an accurate amount.
Tamp the espresso in the portafilter. Use a tamp to pack the espresso grounds into the portafilter. This will ensure that the water passes through the espresso evenly. To tamp, grip the handle of the tamp and turn your arm so your elbow is at a 90-degree angle. Set the portafilter on a level surface and push down evenly, so you’re putting about 30 pounds of pressure on the coffee. 
- Don’t set the clean portafilter on a counter that’s got coffee grounds on it.
- You don’t need to knock the outside of the portafilter after you’ve tamped the espresso. This will create small cracks in the packed espresso puck and can prevent good flavor from developing.
Part Three of Three:
Pulling the Espresso Edit
Insert the portafilter into the brew head. Turn the brew head on your machine on for a few seconds. This will rinse away any grounds from a previous brew, so they won’t get your puck of espresso dirty or wet. As soon as the portafilter is packed and tamped, insert it into the brew head.
- Avoid filling the portafilter and letting it sit with packed espresso. The portafilter should still be hot from being in the machine, so letting espresso sit in it could burn it a little or give a bitter taste.
Start pulling the espresso shot. Immediately turn your machine on to start the shot and place your warmed espresso cup or shot glass underneath it. You should also start a timer. You’ll notice that it takes several seconds before the espresso begins to drip into the cup. It should look creamy and thick as it starts to come out. This is the crema.
- Don’t put the filled portafilter into the brew head and wait to extract the espresso. The espresso grounds will begin to heat up as soon as they come into contact with the brew head.
Stop the shot. If you’re extracting a single shot, you’ll probably want to stop the shot once it’s brewed for around 20 seconds. If you’re extracting a double shot, you’ll want to let it go for 20 to 30 seconds. Turn off the machine once you’ve got the desired volume and the shot begins to turn blonde. 
- Most single shots will be about 1 ounce (30 ml) and double shots are usually 2 to 2.5 ounces (60 to 75 ml).
Serve the espresso and clean the machine. Set the espresso on a small plate and serve it right away. You’ll also need to remove the portafilter and dump out the puck of moist espresso grounds. Rinse the portafilter out and wipe it dry. Purge (clean) the brew head by running water through it for a few seconds and then return the portafilter to the brew head. 
- Consider serving the espresso with chocolate covered espresso beans or a small cookie. You could also use it in a latte, cappuccino, or flavored coffee beverage.