Understanding Espresso

Espresso isn't just for espresso drinkers as the espresso shot is the key ingredient in all espresso-based drinks including lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, long blacks, piccolos and macchiatos.

To make great espresso you need more than just the tools (the Italian coffee machine and the coffee grinder). You need to understand coffee extraction. The goal is to extract approx 90% of the total dissoluble solids. Here are my descriptions for 3 types of extractions:

  • Over-extraction - burnt, bitter, astringent.
  • Under-extraction - sour, flat, thin.
  • Perfect extraction - pleasant acidity, sweet, thick, long finish and complex. 

With a little knowledge and a consistent workflow you will be able to get a great coffee every time. You will find all that you need to know on my Training Page

 Melbourne Home Barista


The Home Barista Workflow

There are many ways to make espresso and every barista has a different way of doing things.  My own workflow has been refined over many years, and I have trained 200+ home baristas.

The goal of any barista's workflow is to reduce the number of variables. Weighing is a great way to reduce the "amount of coffee" variable. They don't do this at most cafes due to the time factor, but at home we can spend a little longer and aim for perfection - so always weigh your grind. Consistent dosing and tamping are other variables that need to be controlled.  It's not difficult at all, but my training will help you to get the technique right so -you can dose and tamp consistently, shot after shot.

I think of the coffee grinder hopper collar as the steering wheel. By following my steps you will minimise variables so that you can "drive" your espresso machine by changing the grinder setting. Making your espresso without a consistent workflow is like driving your car with with a jelly steering wheel. 

I have refined my own espresso machine workflow over many years and have really brought it back to basics. In fact, there are just 10 steps and even own 10 year old son can follow them to make a great espresso. He's often called upon (by me) when I need a brew.

To view my 10 Step Coffee Machine Workflow and my Coffee Machine Maintenance Guide please visit the K Bean Training Page