How to make an espresso in 6 easy steps

Make espresso

“The nectar of the gods” or the espresso . With its syrupy jets that slowly end up in your cup. Not too slow because then it will become bitter and not too fast because then you don't get the full taste.

If you put it perfectly, you score points, but you only have 1 variable wrong. Then your espresso is completely out of balance.

For many, it is not always an easy task to brew the perfect espresso. When I just started drinking coffee and making espressos on my espresso machine, I had no idea what I was doing.

Sometimes it tasted fine and sometimes very bad. Way too bitter or way too sour. No crema layer or too light crema layer. Hmm what went wrong here?

Luckily for you, I have been a coffee professional for over five years and have learned how to make the perfect espresso. And even better, this is actually super easy. Provided you follow the right steps.

That is why in this article I explain how you can make the perfect espresso at home in x steps. You know, nicely balanced, a hazelnut-colored crema layer and a taste to get out of bed every day.

You can also make your other coffees such as a cappuccino, americano or flat white perfectly with the perfect espresso.

Tip: Use a Sage Espresso machine at home to make espressos. Also read: Help with setting up your Sage . In this article I will specifically discuss how to adjust your Sage.

What do you need?

Do you want to get started at home and make the perfect espresso? Then you need the following:

If you don't have an espresso machine at home, it is unfortunately not possible to make a real espresso. The original espresso is brewed under a pressure of about 9 bar and unfortunately an espresso machine is the only machine that does this.

What comes very close to an espresso is the Mokkapot a.ka. Bialletti, aka percolator. With this you can  brew the coffee that comes closest to espresso in terms of mouthfeel, taste and texture.

Preparing the espresso

brew espresso

Before you make the espresso, there are a number of preparations you need to make to achieve the best result. First of all, turn on your espresso machine and let it warm up properly. Usually 20 minutes or so is enough.

Now I hear you thinking. But my boiler indicates that my machine is already warm, why do I have to wait so long. I get it, I used to think that too. Often the boiler of your espresso machine is up to temperature, but the metal parts of the machine are not yet.

If you make an espresso with a machine that is too cold, the coffee cools down too quickly, so that the extraction cannot take place under the right conditions. Sorry, I'm trying not to digress too far. Just let it warm up properly, skip the details for now ;-).

Then fill the coffee grinder with your favorite coffee beans. Always buy freshly roasted coffee beans, preferably not older than 8 weeks. This gives the best result, the best crema layer and a nice layered taste.

Read also: What the date of the roasted coffee beans say about your coffee

Get your scales and timer ready, we're going to make espressos!

Making espresso in 6 easy steps

Yes, we're going to make espresso. The step-by-step plan below is based on the use of a double filter holder. That is, for a double shot. Simply because it gives you the best extraction and the tastiest espresso. You want that too.

  1. Grab your piston/filter carrier and place it on the scale. Set the scale to 0. This is important, because if you later grind coffee in your piston, you will know exactly how many grams this is. This is the first most important variable in the process.
  2. Now dose 19 grams in your port filter and tamp it with your tamper. Use about 20-30 kg of body weight when pressing.
  3. First let a little water run out of the 'brew-head' of your espresso machine. This way you prevent your coffee from being burnt by a too hot 'brew head'.
  4. Place your cup on the scale and then set it back to 0. Place it under your espresso spout.
  5. Place your piston in the machine and press the espresso button or pull the lever that activates your machine and turns on your timer.
  6. Keep a close eye on the timer and scale , as you want about 38-40 grams of brewed coffee to come out in 25-30 seconds.

Right the first time, natural talent! But hey, hardly anyone can do this. Often this goes too fast or too slow.  And that's because of the following:

Too fast? Then the grind of the coffee is too coarse. Therefore, grind your coffee a little finer and repeat the above steps again. Just as long until you get 38-40 grams of coffee in 25-30 seconds.

Why is too fast bad? The water has not had enough time to extract all the flavor from the coffee. This often results in an acidic and unbalanced cup of coffee.

Read also: Why does my coffee taste sour?

To slow? Then the grinding degree is just too fine. Grind a little coarser and repeat the above steps. Just as long until you get 38-40 grams of coffee in 25-30 seconds.

Why is too slow bad? If it takes too long to make your espresso, the water has been in contact with the coffee for too long. This creates over-extraction and you get very bitter coffee.

Read also: Why does my coffee taste bitter?


drinking espresso

Making the perfect espresso is not that complicated. You just have to stick to the steps and keep the variables the same. If you don't have a scale, it's almost impossible to always prepare a perfect and consistent espresso.

It's a bit of drilling and it takes some time, I know. But once you master these 6 steps, it is a piece of cake for every type of coffee, on every machine to make the perfect espresso.