With its unmistakable crema and distinctive aroma, an espresso is a perfect way for travelers to perk up for a day of sightseeing or relax after taking in a large meal or show.
But what if we want to recreate the same espresso we drink abroad once we’re back in our own kitchens? As travelers know all too well, it’s often difficult to duplicate such coffee drinks at home, even though they buy high-quality coffee beans and expensive brewing and grinding machines.
The trick to creating professional-tasting espresso at home may lie in making a few alterations to your home-brewing techniques. The espresso coffee brewing method has the shortest brewing cycle — roughly 20 to 25 seconds — which means it is least likely to allow the naturally-occurring (and bitter-tasting) tannic acid in coffee beans to seep into your previous cup of joe. But there are still plenty of factors that will change the taste and consistency of your espresso drink.
Be aware of the temperature around you: Just opening a window in your kitchen, which changes the humidity in the room, can affect the grind. If the grind is too coarse, or the coffee has been exposed to air too long, the espresso will pour too fast and end up watery. If the grind is too fine, especially on a humid day, it will pour too slowly and burn; burnt espresso yields no crema.
Watch the temperature of the milk: Milk just be be between 130° Fahrenheit and 150° Fahrenheit; anything beyond 150° Fahrenheit may boil the milk and ruin the taste.
Consider your water: Water quality does make a difference. Hard, soft or filtered water can all affect the extraction.
Follow the directions exactly: Pump calibration and proper cleaning are crucial for your espresso machine’s performance. Go back over the manual and take care in the following the directions.