How to Extract the Perfect Espresso

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 99,221
    Barista Greg Suekoff demonstrates how to extract the perfect espresso.

    Greg Suekoff: I am Greg Suekoff and we are here at Caffe Pronto Coffee Roastery and I am showing you how to make the perfect Latte. Right now, I am going to show you how to extract perfect shots of espresso, which is the basis for any good Latte. Extracting good espresso is a several part process, the first process is grinding the coffee. The key to grinding espresso is to grind it fresh. You don't want to grind it ahead of time. So, when the drink is ordered you want to grind right then and there. Now the process in which I was distributing coffee from the dosing chamber into the portafilter is called dosing. The key to dosing is distribution. You want to make sure that your coffee is evenly distributed throughout the portafilter. The next step is called leveling. Now leveling is the key to distribution, this is the part where we are going to make sure that the coffee is distributed evenly across the puck.

    So, we are going to push the coffee around, sort of like you are trying to fill up a hole with dirt. I just want to make sure when you come to compact the coffee, you have it evenly distributed. The next thing we are going to need is the tamper. The tamper is what's used to compact the finely ground coffee into the portafilter. The tamping method is done by trying to align your wrist and your elbow and press down with about 35 or 45 pounds of pressure and then polish it a little bit, then a little tap is used to free the coffee from the side of the portafilter in and then a twisting polish at the end.

    The next thing you want to do is make sure you rub off all of the excess coffee grinds from the portafilter. You want to purge your group head, which spits a little bit of the water out and any old grinds or cold water that's accumulated in the head, then you want to engage and begin your shots. Now what we are trying to accomplish when we are making shots of espresso is a certain amount of volume achieved over a certain amount of time. The previous steps of grinding, dosing, leveling and tamping were all done to this end.

    What I am trying to achieve while I am extract shots of espresso is about one ounce of liquid over the course of about 23 to 26 seconds. We are approaching the one ounce mark right now and we have a time of 26 seconds. So, when we are going to evaluate espresso, we are going to look at the top of it first, is there a nice layer of crme? This crme is very nice, there is nice flecking, it's dark, it's got reddish brown spots in it, there is very nice texture. You can see a nice volume of crme in the shot. The aroma should be very sweet. This smells like a very nice shot of espresso. Now the only other ingredient to make the perfect Latte is adding a well textured milk and that's what's next.