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Making The Perfect Espresso

Updated on January 26, 2010

Making the perfect cup of espresso, or pulling the espresso as it is known, involves a few tricks. It isn't that hard and in fact is a lot of fun. It can be a quiet moment for yourself, an activity for a couple or a break from a party that is sure to impress your guests with the results. It is an art form.

The Perfect Espresso Is An Art

Espresso is an art form. For those of us in love with this sensuous and decadent beverage there is a ritual to its creation. It is like a dance almost. It is something one does not just do - one experiences the making of espresso. From the beginning of grinding the beans and inhaling the bouquet of something that is all at once delicate yet robust, to the pulling of the brew, to the culmination of actually drinking the espresso, it is a special time. It is something I call a moment in time.

The Perfect Espresso Starts With The Grind

The first step in a successful espresso adventure is grinding the beans. Never think that you can grind up a pound, store it and just use it for the next two to three weeks. Espresso beans must be ground daily. Twice a day if you brew it morning and evening both. This grinding business is a funny thing. Humidity affects the grind, the brand of espresso bean, and even the type of grinder you use will affect the quality of the grind. And the quality of the grind is what determines your success. When you grind your espresso beans, check them frequently during the process. You want the grind to be fine but not to fine. A too-coarse grind will make watery espresso vacant of the flavor and bouquet. Too fine of a grind and the espresso will come out like sludge.

Experiment To Find The Perfect Espresso

Experimentation is the best way to learn of course, but the best advice anyone could get would be to go to a coffee shop near your home and buy a very small amount of ground espresso. Look at the grind to see about how it looks and feels in your hand. Rub a bit of the ground coffee between your fingers and become accustomed to how it feels. Then as you experiment yourself, you will have an idea of when to stop grinding the beans.

The next step in brewing espresso is not to think convenience. If you are making just one cup for yourself this isn't an issue but if you are serving guests and have six or eight beverages to do, it is a tremendous temptation to brew larger amounts to save time. But remember. This is still an experience. Still that moment in time. Think of your espresso brewing time as a breather or a break away from the party. It is a quiet moment to create then to return to enjoy the beverage with your friends. So brew the espressos one at a time or at the least no more than two at a time if you have a machine with a double shot. The problem with "mass brewing" is that the crema, which I'll explain in a moment, is destroyed and when you destroy the crema, you have destroyed the espresso.

Continued In Making The Perfect Espresso Part II


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    • bogusroy profile image

      bogusroy 6 years ago from Crescent City Florida

      nice article Hal. Thanks for sharing it.