A perfect espresso is deliciously smooth, with full body, intense aroma and a velvety crema. Best served in a pre-heated espresso cup.
Grind a few beans to check for appropriate fineness and purge your grinder of stale grounds. The coffee should clump loosely and appear powdery, but should still feel gritty when rubbed between your fingers..
Dose 18 to 21 grams of freshly ground coffee into the portafilter. As coffee exits the chute, rotate the portafilter so that the grounds settle evenly in the basket. Afterwards, use your forefinger to level the grounds and fill in any air pockets.
Tamp your coffee in the portafilter. It is more important that you develop a consistent pressure in your tamp than it is to always hit 30 pounds of pressure. Your arm should be straight so the tampermakes contact with the coffee bed evenly.
Return the portafilter to the grouphead and begin brewing. If your machine offers a separate pre-brew or "pre-infusion" stage, complete this first. By doing so, you'll allow stored gases to release before full infusion begins. With fresh coffee, pre-infuse until your see the first drops exit the portafilter.
Begin infusion and end brew at predetermined yield: we like to start at 2 fluid ounces (if measuring by volume) or about 30 grams (if using a gram scale). Before serving, mix crema by stirring or pouring espresso into another cup.