How to Make the Perfect Espresso at Home

Brewing the perfect shot of espresso is no less a work of art. It involves numerous stages of preparation and precaution. Learning this art requires time and patience, and obviously the willingness to learn. So just in case you have all those, and want to make good espresso with an average semi automatic machine, read on.

First things first. Choose your beans wisely. Buy coffee beans from trusted sources. That way you have more chances to get fresh coffee beans. Once you have your beans in place, let us go into the process of grinding them. An average semi automatic machine will not come with an in built grinder. Hence even before you buy a semi automatic machine, first invest in a good grinder. Also, see to it that you use the coffee as soon as grinding is done. Do not grind your beans very fine. Let them be as course as table salt, and not powdery.

pull perfect shot of espresso

Now that your beans are done, measure the ground coffee out into the portafilter. How much coffee you need to put depends on how strong you want the brew to be and also on the type of coffee beans. This bit, you need to experiment a bit and fix. One standard serving size of espresso requires around 18-20 grams of coffee. Tamping the coffee into the portafilter is important. Tamping is the process by which you can make the ground coffee layer in the portafilter compact. What happens is if the bed of ground coffee is not tamped properly, there are gaps in it. When the water passes through coffee, the gaps make it easier for the water to pass. This leads to poor quality extraction. If the coffee is tamped properly then the water needs to put more effort in passing through it and hence the brewed espresso is much stronger in flavor. There are tampers available in the market. They make tamping way easier than doing it with hands. Get one of those.

The temperature at which the espresso is brewed also decides the fate of the coffee. The ideal temperature is around 92C to 96C. But sadly, most semi automatic home machines fail to maintain a steady temperature and hence there is fluctuation. To get this fixed, you can either add a temperature controller to your machine or you can buy a PID-Controlled espresso machine. To make sure that you will choose the right type of PID-Controlled espresso machine, read espresso machine reviews here.

The extraction time matters. Generally a shot of espresso should not take more or less than thirty seconds. Thirty seconds is good time for optimum espresso extraction.
Additionally flush your group head with hot water once before you attach the portafilter with the coffee to it. If your machine comes with a cup warming tray, then it is all good. Or else you might just want to manually warm you cup a bit by washing it with hot water.

All the steps I described above, are equally important and if you go a little loose on one, you will see a distinct difference in the taste of your brew, immediately.

Apart from all these, and perhaps the most important step in making the perfect espresso is cleaning your espresso making machine regularly. Otherwise the coffee oil from the ground coffee settles down into the portafilter. And this in turn makes the resulting extracted espresso taste weird and rancid. I would suggest cleaning after every brew.

Like I mentioned before, making the perfect cup of espresso takes practice and patience. Repeated practice will help you get your measurements and timings correct. And if you are too lazy to do all this, yet want perfect coffee, please buy a super automatic machine where everything will be done and all you have to do is just press the button. Sounds lucrative? I know. Just that they are a little expensive.

Here is a nice video to demonstrate the whole process. Happy Coffee-ing!

Espresso Cleaning – Simplified

So, you have had your fills of regular espresso shots and other beverages with the help of Espresso machine sitting in your kitchen cabinet and now you are wondering whether its time you should clean it; and if you have to clean it then how are you going to do that; or when is the right time for cleaning your espresso machine; or more importantly what is the right method to clean your espresso machine.

Don’t worry we have answers to all of the above mentioned and whole lot of other questions coming into your mind regarding espresso machine cleaning.

Super Automatic Espresso MachineIf you have a super automatic espresso machine, then all your worries come to an end as you don’t have to do anything. Your gadget has AUTOMATIC cleaning functions which will relieve you of all the worries regarding espresso machine cleaning.But if you have any of the other ones, you can follow the simple steps given below and get your espresso machine cleaned with no extreme efforts.

To begin with you should have the below mentioned items to clean the espresso machine:

  • Espresso Machine Cleaner Kit which includes flushing detergent. However, it is very important that you should NOT use any other conventional detergent lying round in your house for the cleaning purpose.
  • Citric Acid or Descaler. You can also use some other weak acids such as vinegar etc. The point you should always remember for this part is you should never ever use a strong acid such as Hydrochloric Acid.
  • Next is, Backflush Portafilter Basket.
  • Clean dishrag and kitchen towel.
  • Any non – grating material for scrubbing such as “Green Scrub” of 1 X 1 size.
  • Any other normal container having a size big enough for soaking the portafilter.

After you have read about all the materials required for cleaning your espresso machine; next comes the interval after which you need to do that.

The espresso machine should be cleaned after:

  • Making Every Shot
  • Daily Basis
  • Weekly
  • Every 3 to 6 months

We will explain this routine in a little while. Meanwhile, you should note that if you clean your espresso machine with this routine, your machine will shine as new always and will run for a longer time interval. Another important benefit of sticking to the routine is that every shot you make with your espresso machine will be fantastic and satisfying as the first one.

So here comes the routine explanation:

After Every Shot:

  • Clean the milk wand thoroughly using a damp towel.
  • Release some steam to expel any milk sticking round in the nozzle hole. This will make your machine ready for another immediate cup.
  • If you don’t need another cup immediately, then empty the filler basket, rinse group head thoroughly, wipe it and reinstall it to the machine.
  • Finally, run some water from the spout to cleanse any remaining stains.

Daily Routine:

  • Wipe the shower screen with damp towel.
  • Install the backflush portafilter basket in the portafilter.
  • Run water from the group head jiggling the filter handle for rinsing.
  • Tighten the filter handle and let the water pressure rise for 15 seconds and release.
  • Repeat this step which is called as backflushing for 5 times.
  • Rinse the drip tray and reinstall the portafilter into the espresso machine.

Weekly Routine:

  • Use the detergent to clean the portafilter.

3 to 6 months cleaning:

  • Empty down the water reservoir and fill it with descaler.
  • Start the machine for descaler to work.
  • Run the descaler solution through hot water and group head.
  • Leave the machine on for at least half an hour.
  • Empty the reservoir and rinse with clean water.

This was a simple and easy guide for cleaning your espresso machine neat and clean.

Juicer Buying Tips from espn Bakersfield blog

Hey guys, Welcome to ESPN Bakersfield Blog. Today we will give you some tips that would help you to choose a juicer. It’s an important appliance that is used on daily to daily basis. It’s an essential appliance for health conscious people. If you are planning to purchase a juicer, this post would be helpful to you. Purchasing a juicer seems like a small task, but there are some important things that you need to consider first. Huffington Post also wrote a similar post few months before.

fast juicer

Broadly speaking, there are two types of juicers. First on are high speed juicers. High speed juicers also sometime referred as centrifugal or centrifugal ejection type of juicers. High speed juicers rotate very fast and make juice in no time.  They are cheaper than low speed juicers.  But they are as loud as a blender and do not retain as much nutrients as a low speed juicer. Buy this type of juicer if you are on budget and not picky about saving max nutrients.

slow juicerSecond types of juicer are slow speed juicers. They are also known as masticating juicers. They rotate slow and operate quietly. They retain many nutrients as possible and can juice leafy green too. But they are little expensive too. You can compare juicers and check out their ratings at Best Juicer’s website. It’s an excellent website that has categorized juicers in three categories. They have also rated and reviewed these juicers. They have done all the research and you can simply trust their ratings.

Now I will give you some tips related to juicing. Don’t make fruit juice only, mix it up. Try to keep it 50% fruit and 50% vegetable. Green vegetables are rich source of iron. If you want to store juice for later use, store it in air tight container and store it in fridge. Happy Juicing!