For coffee enthusiasts and connoisseurs, there's nothing quite like the rich and aromatic taste of a perfectly pulled shot of espresso. If you own a Breville Barista Express, you're already equipped with a fantastic espresso machine that can help you achieve barista-level results right in the comfort of your own home. In this blog post, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of pulling a flawless shot of espresso using your Breville Barista Express.
Quality Coffee Beans
The foundation of any exceptional espresso shot starts with high-quality coffee beans. Invest in freshly roasted, whole beans from a reputable source, like our I.XXI beans! For the Barista Express, a burr grinder is built into the machine, allowing you to control the grind size to suit your preference.
Preparing the Portafilter
The portafilter is a key component in pulling a perfect shot. Make sure it is clean and dry before use. Ensure that you are using the double-shot (18-20g) filter basket for a standard espresso. Dose the portafilter with freshly ground coffee and level it off using a flat edge or finger.
Adjusting the Grind
If the extraction is too fast (under-extracted) and lacks body, your grind might be too coarse. On the other hand, if it's too slow (over-extracted) and tastes bitter, the grind might be too fine. Make small adjustments to the grind size and repeat the process until you achieve the desired extraction time and flavour profile.
Adjusting the Dose
Just like your grind size, the amount of ground espresso in your portafilter will affect how your espresso pours! If you have a scale handy, between 18g of ground espresso is a pretty standard dose. If you don't have a scale handy not to worry! Breville included accessories make it easy for you to ensure you get the proper dose. After tamping with the appropriate pressure your tamper should sit in your portafilter on top of the tamped espresso, with only the silver portion of the tamper covered. If you can see most of the silver your dose is too high, use the trimming tool called "The Razor" to trim off the excess espresso from your dose, and lower the dose slightly for your next shot so you don't waste one! On the flip side, if your dose is too low more than the silver part of the tamper will be covered, you can add a little bit of ground espresso on top and re-tamp, then up the dose for next time!
Tamping is the process of evenly compacting the coffee grounds in the portafilter to ensure uniform extraction. Apply firm, even pressure using a tamper, which should be around 30 pounds (13.6 kg) of pressure. A level tamp will prevent channeling and uneven extraction.
Starting the Extraction
Insert the portafilter into the machine's group head and initiate the extraction. For a double shot, aim for a brewing time of approximately 25-30 seconds. The ideal extraction time may vary depending on your beans, grind size, and personal taste. The flow of espresso should be steady, forming a thick, honey-coloured stream.
Observing the Crema
During the extraction, observe the crema – the rich, golden-brown foam on top of the espresso. A well-pulled shot will exhibit a thick and creamy crema with tiny bubbles. The crema is an indicator of freshness and a well-balanced extraction.
Clean and Maintain
After each use, clean the portafilter, and group head thoroughly. Regular maintenance will ensure that your machine continues to produce consistent, high-quality espresso shots!
Pulling a perfect shot can take some patience, but with the Breville Barista Express, you have the tools to become a skilled home barista and pull a perfect shot of espresso right in your kitchen. By sourcing quality coffee beans, mastering the art of tamping, and fine-tuning the grind size, you can create a rich and satisfying espresso shot, complete with a beautiful crema. So, get ready to impress your taste buds and those of your guests with delicious espresso beverages crafted to perfection.