How to prepare a perfect espresso. My recipe

This time I bring you the second part of the series of articles dedicated to espresso. If you have not seen the first one, I will leave the link here to review it since you need to understand the changes I will make to achieve a good espresso.

As I told you in the last article, here, you will find my recipe, and you will see the steps to achieve the perfect espresso.

The coffee used for the espresso elaboration

You should always try to use coffee beans of the highest quality possible. For espresso coffee, I like single-origin coffees from Latin America. The Bourbon bean variety is one of my favorites and one I usually use in espresso. Still, you can use the one you like the most.

It is interesting to use high-altitude coffees, with medium roasts, despite being a little more difficult to extract. This roasting should be about 15 days old to extract the maximum yield from the bean.

When we roast the coffee, we create carbon dioxide and aromas; if we use coffee that is too fresh, the carbon dioxide rejects the water and is more difficult to extract, in addition to having an acidic flavor that is too pronounced, sharp, hard and almost effervescent.

On the other hand, if we wait too long, we lose too much carbon dioxide, there is no resistance of the coffee, and the water passes too quickly, creating channels and under-extraction. In addition, we lose the aromas, it has a flat, empty taste, and if it oxidizes, it will have unpleasant flavors.

The coffee’s resting time after roasting depends on the type of coffee, the roast, and your taste. I recommend waiting between two to four weeks for espresso and one to three weeks for filtered coffees.

➡️ Do you know how to prepare Boba Latte?

Espresso brewing process

Now I will describe the step-by-step process to obtain the perfect espresso.

Phase one of the espresso-making process

  1. Once the package of coffee is opened, place the coffee in the grinder and prepare an espresso with some grind that you have configured before to see what changes you should make. As I mentioned to you in the first article of the espresso series, when the coffee has a medium-light roast and a medium-high height, you should start with a medium-low dose.
  2. Then take the portafilter and run some water through it to clean out any coffee grounds that have stuck in the shower of the machine’s group.
  3. Place it on the scale, and tare it to zero to weigh the coffee you will add.
  4. Grind 18 grams over the filter holder basket.
  5. Use the tamper to compact the coffee in a level tablet so that when you place it in the machine, the water can pass through it uniformly. To do this, use your fingers to feel that it is well leveled, perpendicular to the filter holder, and simply rest the weight of your body on the tamper to compact the coffee.
  6. Place the portafilter in the machine and the cups on the scale, tare to zero to weigh the final beverage.
  7. Start the extraction and the timer at the same time.
Phase one of the espresso brewing
Phase one of the espresso brewing

With this first espresso, without any change, you will get 18 grams in the portafilter and 45 grams in a cup, and it takes 25 seconds.

When I tasted it, I found the acidity too high and sharp, overshadowing the sweetness; it was also not very intense, a bit watery and sour. We want to extract less of the final drink, but we will have to modify some factors to do this.

Phase two of espresso brewing

We are going to go to the more classic espresso, with a 1:2 ratio, and we are going to grind a little finer to give it more extraction and thus counteract the decrease in the final beverage.

Adjust to a finer grind for higher extraction
Adjust to a finer grind for higher extraction

The grinder I used, being high-end and having flat grinding wheels, has very little coffee retention. But in most of them, when you change the grind, you will have to remove some coffee before using it so that you don’t get a mixture of the old and new grind.

The second espresso with this first change was 18 grams in the portafilter and 36 grams in the cup and took 38 seconds.

I tasted it and felt how the acidity was balanced, having a pronounced sweetness, but now it left me with a bitter taste due to over-extraction.

So now we would have to keep the same amount of final brew but take a step back with the grind; we would grind a bit coarser, as I made too drastic a change and overdid it.

Related: Is it worth investing in an espresso grinder?

Phase three of the espresso brewing

For the third espresso, with this small adjustment, I was left with 18 grams in the portafilter and 36 in a cup, and it took 28 seconds, ten seconds less, and it was the best so far. It was very rich, with balanced flavors. We could leave it like this at this point, but there is always room for improvement.

We could grind it a little finer to give it more extraction, but if we did that, we would also be adding more intensity and what we want to do is lower it. The only way to achieve this is to increase the amount of the final beverage and keep the same grind.

Phase four of espresso making

Starting from the previous phase, I obtained 18 grams in the portafilter, and 40 grams in the cup, taking 30 seconds. I managed to obtain a coffee with a good body and quite balanced, where the citric notes of mandarin and orange stand out, with a sweet finish with notes of chocolate, exquisite.

The best espresso
The best espresso

Remember that the key is to try, try to discover the differences in flavors, and find your taste. Suppose you have any doubts or don’t understand something. In that case, I recommend you review the first part of the espresso series and then come back to this article to integrate everything since it is a lot of information to process.

Have you tried Vietnamese egg coffee or the coffee sauce?