Flat whites, lattes, cortados - they all share one thing in common: They all require great espresso. At their core each one of them is espresso + milk. So you need to get it right.
Now unless you’re somebody who believes a bit of a caffeine and bitterness is what your milk needs to supercharge your morning, you‘d better read on because we want to give you six simple ways you can make better espresso for your espresso based drinks.
Buy fresh beans
Simple enough. You want them ideally no more than a week old and you want to use them in a few weeks tops. Get technical. Using a 17g dose per cup? if you’re a two lattes a day guy or gal you’re going to get through a 250g a week. And think about what you want from your coffee. Like chocolatey nutty flavours? Head for South America. Want fruitier coffees with extra spice? Africa is calling.
Sick of hearing how a good burr grinder will change your coffee game? Good. We’re glad. That means the word is out. This is one of the best things you can do for your coffee game. Grind them as you use them. Never buy ready ground again.
Get a proper machine
All the gear, no idea? There’s really no way to cut corners when it comes to great espresso. There are two things to care about: a machine that can achieve at least 9 bars of pressure which allows you to extract espresso and steam milk at the same time. Look for “dual boiler”. There are commercially available machines that get you there for the £400 mark.
Keep your kit clean and filter
Water is 95% of what’s going in to your cup so treat it like the gold that it is. A great coffee with terrible water will taste bad. Fact. You wouldn’t expect a chocolate cake made mainly with bleach to taste good would you? Same applies to espresso. Use filtered water and keep all of your kit squeaky clean.
There are very accurate scales (to .1 of a gram) available for about £20. There’s no excuse. Buy them now. It’ll not just ensure consistency but make you realise that even a single gram more or less of beans can impact flavour. Don’t believe me? Try it.
Get a watch
Well a timer. Or better still a scale that counts the time. Remember you’re looking for extraction Times between 20 and 30 seconds typically. Too fast and your espresso may taste sour. Too slow and it might be too bitter. A good steady flow extracted in the correct time is your sure fire to the tasting of that elusive “God Shot”.
And finally: learn how to master that steam wand. Texture that milk well and couple if it with a great espresso and you’ve got a great cup of coffee.