Espresso 101 Part 2

Preparing the espresso.
Tamp the grounds down applying twenty to thirty pounds of pressure and place them into the filter of the machine. The grounds should be tightly packed, but not so much so that the water will be prevented from flowing through them with ease.

Put the water in the machine’s water tank and turn the machine on. The machine will slowly begin to heat the water. While some machines stop heating at the perfect temperatures, not all of them will tell exactly how hot the water should be before it goes into the espresso. The optimal temperature for the water ranges from 190 degrees Fahrenheit to 205 degrees.

Once the water has been heated, you can begin the process to make the espresso. The time will be quick, much more so than that of typical brewed coffee. Thirty seconds or so is the most one should allow the espresso to run. When the foam, or the “crema” on top has become almost white, it is important to take the cup away immediately before the taste deteriorates. Any more time left would dull the taste, as the amount of good taste in the espresso is gone.

Steaming and frothing the milk.
To begin steaming the milk, the wand must begin just on the surface of the milk. It must be level at the moment it is turned on, and then submerged into the milk completely after a few-seconds’ wait. The wand must then be completely below the surface, almost touching the bottom of the pitcher. This way, large bubbles will not be formed beneath the surface and it won’t make a mess that you are forced to clean up later.

As the milk is steamed, it will heat quickly. It is important not to overheat the milk, keeping the temperature between 150 degrees and 155 degrees Fahrenheit. After it has reached its optimal temperature, take the steaming wand out.

The frothing process is a somewhat different approach to adorning the coffee, as it is a sort of foam that will sit just above the drink, rather than mix with it. Instead of submerging the steam wand, place it just above the surface as it steams. when the steaming wand is at the right depth, the foaming will begin and there will be a sound that will continue throughout the amount of time the milk is being foamed. The foam will expand the milk very quickly and after it has finished, remove the wand and shut off the steam.

Toppings galore.
One can use nearly anything to top off espresso. Chocolate shavings, whipped cream, vanilla extract, chocolate syrup, a cherry. The toppings make the espresso uniquely you, and they work together to blend into a sweet, powerful flavor.

For those with the tendency to have guests over to the house, toppings can be the most enjoyable part of the process. It adds a sense of value to the coffee you serve and suggests that you care what your guests drink.

Whatever the manner one chooses to prepare their espresso, it is important to see the process as it is. It can be relaxing, entertaining, or even a morning routine that sets the tone for the rest of the day.

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