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How to Use an Espresso Machine." />

How to Use an Espresso Machine

Last updated on 7/14/2017

If you’re looking to diversify the beverage options in your cafe or restaurant, then it’s time you invested in an espresso machine. Espresso is a form of coffee that is finely ground and then brewed with a small amount of nearly boiling water. Each shot of espresso contains the same amount of caffeine as the standard-sized cup of coffee, which results in it having a stronger taste. To offset the bitterness, milk can be added to the espresso to make popular drinks like cappuccino, latte, and macchiato. Since using an espresso machine can be an overwhelming task, we’ve provided step-by-step directions and an instructional video, so you can easily learn how to use an espresso machine to make a simple shot of espresso.

Espresso Terms

If this is your first time working with an espresso machine, then check out the definitions of these popular espresso terms for clarification on some of the phrases used throughout our instructions and video:

  • Crema - the light colored liquid that first comes out while extracting your espresso shot. After the darker espresso comes out and mixes with the crema, the lighter liquid filters up to the top, leaving a tan-colored layer on top of the darker espresso.
  • Group head - the metal disc-shaped piece of an espresso machine that the portafilter locks into. This is also where the hot pressurized water is distributed to create an espresso.
  • Portafilter - a handle that features a filter basket where you place your ground espresso beans. This is also where the water from the group head runs through.
  • Pulling a shot - using the machine to create a shot of espresso. This phrase is a reference to older times when baristas had to pull an actual lever in order to create a shot.
  • Purging the steam wand - allows steam to exit the wand, which helps to remove any residue and heats up your wand.
  • Tamping espresso grounds - compacting your espresso grounds into your portafilter. This helps the pressurized water extract more flavor from your grounds since there won't be any cracks and crevices for the water to pass through.

Step-by-Step Instructions

How to Use an Espresso Machine

  • Make sure your portafilters are locked into the group head before use so that they are always hot when pulling a shot.

    • 1.

      Detach portafilter and wipe clean to remove any leftover residue.

    • 2.

      Using an espresso bean grinder, dispense your freshly ground beans into your portafilter.

    • Before you re-attach your portafilter, you should purge the group head to run out any lower-temp water that could be resting in your water line.

    • 3.

      Level the grounds in a circular motion. Be sure to remove any crumbs lingering around the edge.

    • 4.

      Evenly tamp your grounds.

    • 5.

      Re-attach the portalfilter to the group head.

    • 6.

      Immediately begin brewing into an espresso shot glass.

    • 7.

      Keep an eye on the time it takes to reach your preferred volume of espresso.

    • 8.

      Pour the shot into an espresso cup.

    • 8.

      Place the cup on a saucer with a spoon and serve.

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