There is no one right way to pull great espresso. Making espresso is called pulling because the pressurised water shoots through the coffee grounds. There are many different ways to pull espresso and even baristas cannot agree on the best way. That is because everyone has a different preference for espresso and every machine is different. The settings that work on one machine might not work on the next one and so on. There are some general guidelines you can follow to pull a great espresso. Obviously, you will need a high-quality machine. At that point, a great espresso starts with whole-bean coffee.
Whole bean coffee loses its flavour in about two months; ground coffee loses its flavour in about two hours. If you want to pull the freshest possible espresso, you should grind your beans immediately before preparing. You should choose a quality coffee that tastes great. There is no agreement on the best grind for beans. The grind size will determine how much resistance it creates in the espresso. Most baristas agree that espresso should be ground fairly fine. You’ll have to work on this a few times to find the right consistency. Of course, an automatic espresso machine will do this all for you. They are great for anyone who doesn’t have the time or the energy to go through the steps.
The next step in the espresso process is tamping the coffee. You should pour the ground coffee into the basket and tamp it down with a decent amount of force. You are trying to create enough resistance to pull the espresso properly. You want the espresso to take 23-29 seconds to pull. Most baristas agree that is about the right amount of time for an espresso. If you are using a machine that does it for you, you probably won’t have to worry about this at all. You’ll need to keep an eye on the machine to see how long it takes to pull the espresso.
Depending on which machine you have, you might be able to adjust some of the settings if it is not pulling an espresso to your liking. Also, you should keep in mind that 23-29 seconds is just a guideline. There are some people who like their espresso to be a little bit on the lighter side while others want it as strong as possible.
You should also consider the finishing touches. Some espresso machines come with frothers and other attachments. If you want to use your machine to make espresso drinks, you might need to froth milk. Frothing milk is not very complicated. You need a tiny bit of water to create steam and then you’ll stick the frothing wand into the cup of milk. You should keep it just a little bit above the bottom of the cup. That will heat the milk and if you stop there, you have steamed milk. To froth it, you should pull the wand up to the very top of the milk and create froth.
That is how an espresso is successfully pulled.