How To Use An Espresso Machine

If you love a rich, flavorful shot of espresso in the morning to start your day, an espresso machine could be the perfect investment for you.

But, what’s the difference between an espresso machine and a regular coffee maker? And, how do you use an espresso machine?

Before you make your decision, let’s take a closer look at these two coffee machines and how to use an espresso machine at home.

Espresso machine vs Coffee maker: What’s the difference?

When choosing between an espresso machine and a coffee maker, it’s important to understand the difference between an espresso and coffee.

Espresso is an ounce or two (also known as a shot) of concentrated coffee, while coffee is a regular cup of coffee you can drink black or add milk or cream to.

An espresso machine is a machine that shoots near-boiling water through coffee grounds with pressure. The more pressure that’s used, the more bold and concentrated the flavor.

A coffee maker is a machine that mixes ground coffee with hot water, and then produces coffee which drips through the machine into a mug.

This is what you make when you’re looking to have a regular cup of coffee. If you’re looking for a basic drip coffee, a coffee maker is the best option for you.

If you prefer a shot of espresso or espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos, an espresso machine is the better option for you.

How to use an espresso machine in 6 easy steps

How to use an Espresso machine in 6 Steps

Using an espresso machine for the first time can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before. But, it doesn’t have to be.

Here is how you can make espresso using an espresso machine in 6 simple steps.

1. Fill The Reservoir

Fill the reservoir with water. To ensure you get a tasty shot of espresso, make sure to use clean, filtered water.

2. Preheat Your Espresso Machine

Some espresso machines can take up to 25 minutes to heat up, so make sure to turn on your espresso machine and give it time to preheat before using it.

This will ensure that you get the best-tasting shot of espresso from your machine.

3. Grind Your Coffee Beans

Grind your coffee beans to a fine grind, and place 20 grams of ground coffee into your portafilter.

Your espresso machine may have a recommended capacity for coffee grounds  – make sure to check if your machine has one before placing it in your coffee grounds. 

4. Tamp Your Coffee Grounds

Before tamping your coffee grounds, tap the portafilter with your hand to make sure the grounds are level. Once you’ve leveled your coffee grounds, tamp your grounds.

Tamping coffee grounds takes practice and time to get just right. Press down straight on the coffee grounds with pressure.

Tamp the grounds until they stop settling and ensure that your top is completely level. When finished, lock the portafilter onto the head of the machine.

5. Pull Your Shot

Now it’s time to pull your shot. A single shot should take anywhere from 15-20 seconds, a double from 20-25, and a triple from 25-30.

Time how long it takes to hit 2 ounces which is the typical size of a double shot to help you understand the time range for pulling your shot. 

6. Steam Your Milk

If you’re making a latte or cappuccino, it’s time to steam your milk.

Pour cold milk into the stainless steel milk pitcher. Turn on your steamer and put the want tip just below the surface of the milk.

Turn it on and froth the milk until it looks frothy and ready to use. Next, place your wand tip to the bottom of the milk pitcher and steam until you are happy with the temperature.

Then, you’re ready to top off your espresso with the delicious, frothed milk and enjoy your drink.

What kind of coffee do you use in an espresso machine?

The coffee that you use for your espresso machine highly depends on your tastes and what you like your espresso to taste like.

It’s recommended to use a dark, espresso, or French roast to get the best results from your espresso machine.

If you prefer the taste of a lighter roast, a medium roast will be a better fit for you.

What grind is best for espresso?

For the best tasting results, use a fine coffee grind. A fine grind will be similar in size and feel to sugar.

Coarse grinds take longer to give up their flavor while a fine grind allows you to extract the flavor quickly.

When making espresso, the brewing time is quite short which is why a fine grind is the best choice for a rich, flavorful espresso.

Is an espresso machine better than a coffee maker?

When deciding between purchasing an espresso machine or a coffee maker, it all depends on what you will be brewing.

If you like brewing a regular cup of coffee and are on a tighter budget, you’ll want to get a coffee maker.

But, if you’re willing to spend more money to make authentic, rich shots of espresso, an espresso machine is what you’re looking for.

Final thoughts on using an espresso machine

An espresso machine can be a great addition to your kitchen if you’re looking to make authentic, rich shots of espresso.

However, it’s important to understand how to use an espresso machine correctly in order to get the best results.

In this article, we’ve walked you through the steps on how to make a perfect shot of espresso using an espresso machine.

Follow these tips and you’ll be enjoying delicious espressos in no time.

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