Considering the flavor that you could only get in an espresso shot, you can just imagine how meticulously it is made. No wonder buying equipment used to make espresso becomes so complicated sometimes. You see, espresso and its flavor is not reliant on the kind of coffee bean you use, or the roast level. Espresso is actually defined by its brewing process, a process that any coffee lover would love to master and perfect. The good thing about it is that no matter how meticulous the brewing process is, making espresso is still something that you can do right in your own home, at you very kitchen.
First, consider the different roasts that can be used to make espresso, and decide which specific kind you prefer. Although using dark roast is more common, you may also want to try other roast levels as other places in the world prefer their roast medium or light, something that might also appeal to your taste. Of course, freshness is a required element, so make sure that the roast is used as close to the roast date as possible.
Grinding the beans properly comes next, and in this step alone, one mistake can greatly sacrifice the flavor. It is best to look for a coffee grinder that grinds with fine consistency, and does not heat up the grind. A burr grinder is recommended over the blade grinder because it has the capability to maintain the consistency of the grind. Remember that grinding it too finely will make the coffee bitter, while grinding it too coarsely will not extract the flavor enough.
The quality of the water you use is also important, as water with a lot of minerals or pollutants will greatly affect the overall taste. The process of brewing involves having boiling water passing through a very tightly packed batch of fine ground coffee. For some, they prefer using water that has been pre-heated to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 degrees Celsius, although this brings out a distinct taste as well. This would depend on how you want your espresso. Because of the temperature used and the fineness of the coffee grounds, this is brewed at a much faster pace compared to standard drip coffee. The water is not merely poured over the coffee grounds, but they are actually forced through the coffee using pressure, which is why espresso always has a foamy topping.
Although different coffee drinkers have their own brewing styles and prefer their own versions of espresso, the kind of espresso machine that you use can also be a key in producing a perfect cup. There are several different kinds of espresso machines that you can choose from, depending on your budget and on your taste. The steam-powered espresso machine is great for those who are on a budget. However, it is unable to build the right amount of pressure and cannot maintain the perfect temperature to make a perfect cup. Expect the steam-powered machine to be very easy to use and to be compact in design, but its performance is something that you would have to deal with. Pump espresso machines are great in producing excellent cups of espresso, but expect them to be a lot more expensive that its steam powered counterparts, and make a little more room for them on your kitchen counters as these are a lot bulkier and heavier. You would also have to pay attention to its maintenance, as there are mineral deposits from the water you use that can clog up its pump. Lever or piston espresso machines use a manual lever or piston to create pressure, and can give you the chance to create the exact taste that you are looking for. However, the result may not be consistent if you have not perfected your brewing system yet, and it can be very strenuous on your arms. This is the easiest to maintain because there are very few parts to clean. Moka pots are simple to use, and are the least expensive among the different choices. It does not build enough pressure though, and there is no milk frothing nor does it give you the option for frothing attachments.
Based on your different choices, you will realize that spending a little bit more will definitely give you better tasting espresso. When it comes to espresso machines, it is better to go for the quality, and not for the savings. Once you have the right equipment ready and the entire process mastered, producing a great tasting espresso shot is easy to do in your very own kitchen. You can even move on and create your own espresso based beverages and enjoy that perfect coffee with a twist.