Do you love coffee?
Chances are, you don’t just love it, you need it.
Most people start their day with a steaming cup of that popular beverage. But what can make this way better?
An espresso machine, of course!
But wait! Do you know how to make good coffee at home?
No? Then keep reading!
Yes, keep reading. You might find a way that you aren’t aware of.
Now, before getting into things, I should tell you that I’m mainly talking about making coffee with an espresso machine. If you prefer manual methods, however, do stick around, I’ve got a little guide for that too.
What Is An Espresso Machine?
So, what’s an espresso machine? That’s obviously a no-brainer for most. However, I’d like to go into the details a little and tell you exactly what it is. An espresso machine makes espresso. It also does so fully mechanically.
Espresso is an Italian type of making coffee. It involves pumping pressurized hot water through finely-ground coffee beans to make coffee. The pressure and pumping action finely mix up the beans with the water and forms the coffee. Typically, an espresso is thicker in texture than regular coffee.
The machine does that mechanically. It can hold the beans in place and run the water down through it. The water is heated and compressed internally. It is then run through the beans and they dissolve in the water to form the espresso. You just have to put in all the stuff and sit back.
How To Make Good Coffee at Home with An Espresso Machine?
Now, how do you make good coffee? I’m here to tell you just that. Good coffee needs both care and attention. You also need to pick the right type of bean. Only coffee connoisseurs can tell the subtle differences between different coffees; however, you can still sense a difference in the types of coffee.
Before we start, you should make preparations.
You’ll need these to start anything;
In the beginning, Choose your coffee beans carefully. There are quite a few brands out there, and there are a lot of unique blends of coffee. Yes, most of us can’t really distinguish them, but maybe you can.
There are variations in coffee powder as well that are distinctly noticeable. Whatever your favorite is, make sure to just that and get the type of blend you want.
Remember that if the beans are too coarse, the water doesn’t have enough time to interact with the coffee and so it might come out weak and bland. On the other hand, if you excessively grind it down, the flavor is imparted with extreme bitterness.
This can make it impossible to drink. Therefore, you should find a middle ground.
Most of us don’t really fancy black coffee. A little milk helps to mellow out the bitterness and make the drink more delicious.
It also adds a unique texture to the coffee. Choose milk carefully. I prefer liquid over powdered milk as powdered milk tends to coagulate, especially if exposed to scalding temperatures.
Alternatively, you could skip the milk step and just stock powdered milk for the end. This is especially favorable if you’re serving coffee to a crowd.
Not all might like your level of milk. Some might not like it at all. Therefore, you could just keep powdered or even liquid milk separately for use.
Again, this is an ingredient that is better to add later, because people often vary in how much sugar they prefer. If you’re going to serve sugar separately, you could opt for sugar cubes too.
They’re more compact and add the aesthetic. It all depends on what you prefer, really.
If you’re having it by yourself, or with someone who doesn’t really mind the sugar amount that much, you could integrate the sugar into the espresso machine as well.
The machine does have that mechanism installed. I advise against using sugar cubes here because they don’t dissolve as easily as granulated sugar does.
Preparation is key. Keep in mind that if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
Make sure that the power is off when you are setting things up. Coffee machines, especially espresso machines, do consume a lot of power.
A lot of power translates to a lot of currents. This can be quite hazardous, as currents through the body can stop the heart. Be careful.
Preparing The Milk
The milk needs to be treated to reach the silky texture that makes espresso so good. Use a steam wand to puff up the milk.
Stir the concoction and while maintaining the circular momentum, pour it down. This will make it foamy and silky and give you a rich texture.
Of course, there are people who don’t like this texture. Some like scalded milk, and you can prepare that by heating the milk to a high temperature and pouring it in.
Some people prefer varying levels of “silkiness,” so you might decide to stretch the milk more or less depending on that factor.
Next, remember to load the machine properly. It should have a dispenser for the beans and another two for the milk and sugar.
Load them in one by one. Pouring the milk in was a skillful art form once, but now the machine can do it for you. Put everything in and make sure that it is in a little excess so that no ingredient falls short.
Here is the detailed, step-by-step procedure on how to make a cup of good coffee at home using an espresso machine.
Step 1: Turn It on
Turn the machine on after you are done with the loading. Make sure that the ambiance is dry and crisp. You don’t want electricity and water in the same place.
Step 2: Set the Commands
Set in the commands accordingly. Be sure that you have specified the parameters. I usually prefer a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of coffee, and half a cup of milk and water. However, my preferences are probably different from yours.
The espresso machine should have a calibrated interface that lets you use traditional measurements.
Step 3: Hold a Cup at the Tray
Any typical cup will do. Just make sure that it can contain the volume that you have set it up to produce. Ideally, you’ll want a container that you can hold avoiding the heat. Glass or ceramic cups are the best as they preserve the flavor of coffee quite well.
Iron or old metallic containers are acceptable too, but they tend to impart a rusty flavor. This is especially the case with older rustier cups. Aluminum or stainless steel is fine for the most part.
Step 4: Dispense
This is where you actually press to make the coffee come out. It should be the most conspicuous button on the machine so you won’t miss it.
Your machine will use a heated coil to heat up the water and squeeze it through the coffee beans. The coffee beans will dissolve and become the main coffee.
If you had loaded it with milk, it would also be added into the mix after the espresso processing is complete. It should evenly blend together and then be poured out into your container. And just like that, your coffee is made.
Always remember that safety comes first. Don’t endanger yourself over a cup of coffee!
After you are done, remember to power the machine off. Not only is the active coffee machine a potential health hazard, but it is also detrimental to the coffee machine too. It’s also going to pull at your wallet; leaving a coffee maker on idle can burn through power pretty fast.
Never Touch The Mechanism
Do not ever reach in and touch anything. It’s hot in there; you could get a nasty burn. Besides, putting your hand in, and poking around might damage your device. What’re you going to do then? Therefore, be careful.
The same should be said for the internal circuitry of the machine. You might be a DIY expert, but please refrain from messing around in there. So, if there’s a problem, call a technician.
Types of Coffee That You Can Make
Here are the types of coffee you can make;
This one is just here for the looks of it. If you follow this guide on how to make coffee at home with an espresso machine, you should have an espresso.
This has a little milk added to espresso. However, it also has a foamy froth on top which gives it a visual appeal. It is a bit lighter than an espresso.
Lattes are similar to cappuccinos, but they have more milk. The higher proportion of milk makes the latte more creamy and not as strong as a cappuccino.
Mocha is also a variant of latte. It is made with the same ingredients and proportions, with the addition of chocolate. There are many ways to add chocolate, and many different kinds of chocolate to add. This makes mochas a popular drink at cafes.
This exists between an espresso and a cappuccino. It is characterized by its minimal addition of milk. Macchiatos are basically just espressos with a tiny dash of milk. It has a little layer of foam on the surface, but it’s very thin. The macchiato is among the strongest variations of an espresso.
A ristretto is the strongest variant of an espresso. It’s basically very strong, black coffee. By reducing the water proportion of the coffee, you can make the espresso even stronger.
This is because it makes the coffee solution more concentrated, and therefore, it tastes very strong. There are very few people who can comfortably handle a ristretto.
How To Manually Make Coffee?
Let’s get real here; not all of us can afford an espresso machine. But that doesn’t mean we have to be deprived of some good coffee. In a manual process, you do everything the machine did by hand.
Remember that hands can only do so much, however, so I do still suggest that you be looking out for an espresso machine. They aren’t the most expensive thing out there.
Step 1: Pour the Water over the Beans
You have to request the aid of gravity this time. Pour the hot water over the beans, several times to make sure that it’s dissolved.
Step 2: Pour the Milk
Pour the milk in a circular fashion. This will preserve its texture.
Step 3: Add Sugar and Serve
Finally, add sugar to the mix. Or not, if you don’t prefer sugar. Serve.
So, thank you for reading. I hope that this read has helped you make a good cup of coffee, either for you or for someone else. If you’re looking to be a barista, I’m confident that this guide can be a suitable start-up article.
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