Strictly Speaking: Espresso

Espresso is a coffee-brewing method originating in Italy, where a small amount of hot water is forced through finely-ground coffee beans under 9 bars of atmospheric pressure. It uses significantly less water immersion and filter brewing methods, with the combination of finer grounds and more pressure resulting in a thick, creamy and strong tasting coffee shot.
Whether taking a break from work for a mid morning pick-me-up, having a social gathering at a favourite cafe, or heading out for breakfast on the weekend, a quality espresso coffee immediately springs to mind with all of these occasions. 
If you regularly grab a coffee on the way to work, a home espresso machine can be a good investment and a source of motivation as you strive to create that perfect morning brew yourself. As much as our lives can be built around the daily morning trip for a flat white, the ritual of making it yourself at home can be equally rewarding.
Here are our recommendations of simple steps you should follow in order to ensure a sweet, balanced, full-bodied espresso.

 

Dose

Ensure you’re dosing between 19g-20g of freshly ground coffee into the basket. You can use scales to check. Alternatively, over-fill the basket, give it a gentle knock on top of the dosing chamber and then scrape the excess coffee flat before tamping.

Tamp

Always keep your tamp flat and even. Aim for a consistent, firm pressure across the entire bed of coffee. You don’t need to twist while applying pressure. Some people like to add a little spin after tamping to ‘polish’ the coffee, just remember this is without pressure.

Extraction

Monitor the appearance of your extraction. It should look syrupy and dark brown and gently lighten to a caramel colour as the shot progresses. Your final espresso should take approximately 30 seconds to extract and weigh around 40g (this will look like 60ml, as crema has lots of gas and bubbles but will eventually settle.)

If you're looking into an espresso machine of your own, there are many factors to consider including the technical features you require, your desired level of investment, amount of usage, barista experience and product quality. Feel free to pop into Strictly HQ as we are more than happy to help out. As always, a great coffee always begins with good quality beans.
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