10 Tips to Making Better Espresso

You can make it at home as a morning caffeine boost, or add it to your iced mocha. Whatever your preference, espresso is the foundation of coffee drinks. Creating a delicious espresso drink is easy. Follow these ten simple steps to make it better:

1. Find a balance in your grind. A common mistake in making espresso starts with the grind. A course grind comes from grinding too fast, but grind too slow produces a grind that is too fine. Adjust your grinder one notch at a time to reach a medium speed, making sure that the espresso grind falls in between too course and too fine. A good rule to follow is... not as fine as flour but not a course as sugar. This creates the perfect quality of flavor and strength of the espresso.

2. Use the correct sized portafilter. The portafilter is the device that holds the espresso grind during the brewing process.

3. Heat the portafilter. A heated portafilter will make the brewing process a little smoother.

4. Use fresh beans. The freshness of the beans determines the quality of flavor. You can tell your coffee is fresh when the espresso comes out with a gold crema.

5. Keep your machine clean. Cleaning the machine is a chore many people tend to neglect, but a clean machine is one of the most important factors when it comes to making good coffee. You wouldn't reuse an unwashed coffee cup, would you? Same goes for the machine. Remember to remove any excess coffee and back flush regularly.

6. Don't over-extract the espresso. The extraction process plays a big role in the strength of the coffee. A good rule of thumb is paying attention to the crema on the espresso. White crema means it has been extracted too quickly, dark brown means it has been extracted too slowly. Aim for a gold crema.

7. Don't overheat the milk. It can be easy to serve up a piping hot latte that is undrinkable. Use fresh, cold milk, and don't steam hotter than 160 F. Remember- milk continues to heat up after the steam wand is turned off. We suggest using a thermometer, and stop steaming at 150 F.

8. Clean the steam wand. Always remember to wipe off the steam wand after it has been turned off. Only use a soft cloth to prevent wear.

9. Empty the portafilter. After each use, remove the portafilter, and remove the excess coffee grounds.

10. Change the gaskets. Make sure to change your gaskets regularly to avoid the leaking of water into you drink.