Home Brewing Methods: Home Espresso Machines

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There are a multitude of at-home coffee brewing methods that are used across the world, with home espresso machines arguably being the most popular in the western world. In this blog, we’ll go through what exactly home espresso brewing is, where it originates and the best types of coffee to use for this method.

What is home espresso?

Put simply, espresso is hot water forced through ground coffee. In more detail, espresso consists of near-boiling water pushed through finely-ground coffee at 9 bars of pressure. Generally, a 30ml shot of espresso contains around 50 to 60 milligrams of caffeine. A well-extracted espresso shot should have a crema on top that is smooth and has a deep red-gold colour.

Espresso can then be drunk on its own, with hot or cold milk, or hot or cold water. In some countries, it is common to be drunk with condensed milk. Additions such as sugar, flavoured syrups, or chocolate can be made to sweeten the coffee.

Where does espresso originate from?

Espresso originates from Italy. While many believe the word “espresso” is an adaptation or translation of the Italian word for “express” due to the speed in which espresso is made and served, that is not true. Espresso actually originates from the word “esprimere”, which means “to press out”. So, a loose translation tells us espresso means “pressed-out coffee”. Espresso was originated around the 1900s, when Italian man Luigi Bezzera filed a patent for the first espresso machine – a machine that forces near-boiling water and steam through coffee grinds.

The best way to brew espresso at home

While you’ve probably already bought a home espresso machine at this point, we also highly recommend purchasing your own grinder as well. This gives you the ability to fine-tune the grind to suit your espresso machine perfectly – not to mention your coffee will last much longer when you’re only grinding what you need as you go. For more information on this, check out our Why You Should Invest in a Grinder blog here.

First up, you need to make sure you’re storing your coffee correctly. Your coffee should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry area, such as in your pantry – not your fridge or freezer! You can find more in-depth information in our bean storage blog.

Now for the actual brewing method – there is no set ratio of coffee to water that works on every single machine, a lot of this will be up to your judgement. Your coffee dosage (amount of coffee you use in your basket) generally should be a couple of grams more than your basket size. If you have a 20-gram basket, you should start off using 22 grams of ground coffee. This is just a guide, and again can vary from machine to machine.

Ideally, your coffee should extract for 25 to 30 seconds, and you should end up with around 30ml of coffee. While extracting, the espresso should be running smoothly and consistently and should be a golden brown colour. If your shot is running out far too quickly, your grind is too coarse, whereas if it is running too slowly, it is too fine. There are a number of other problems that could arise and cause your espresso shot to be less than perfect, including issues such as channelling, or problems that cannot be seen but rather tasted. For troubleshooting, visit our What is Wrong With my Espresso blog.

The best coffee for home espresso brewing

Any espresso roast coffee will work excellently with this brewing method. If you drink flat whites, lattes, cappuccinos, piccolos or anything with milk, we have a couple of recommendations depending on the type of flavour you like:

  • Il Caramello – for those that like smoother coffees with caramelly undertones.
  • Tall Dark and Handsome – for those that prefer a bit of a stronger, heavier and darker cup with upfront chocolatey flavours.

For those that drink black coffee, any of our single origin coffees would work beautifully through a home espresso machine. My personal favourites are:

  • Our Papua New Guinean (PNG) beans – they’re very strong and punchy. With bright fruit and chocolate tastes, this coffee can also go well with milk if you want.
  • For those that drink straight black coffee and are looking for something not as punchy as our PNG, our Guatemalan coffee is the one for you. It’s got lovely fruity undertones with a malty and chocolatey finish.

by Melissa Hartwig

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