How to make espresso at home with or without an espresso machine

A shot or two of espresso will provide you with a healthy dose of caffeine. Whether you combine it with a morning latte or sip it alone in the afternoon, it has a more robust flavour and body than your average cup of drip coffee.

Cary Wong, a coffee educator with Partners Coffee, defines espresso as a brewing method. “It is unique and distinct from other brewed coffees in that it utilises highly pressurised water to accelerate the extraction of the coffee,” he explains. The extracted espresso then makes an excellent base for milk-based coffee beverages or for sipping on its own.

However, you are not required to obtain it at your neighbourhood coffee shop. Espresso can be made at home using an espresso machine. Additionally, if you lack an espresso machine, there are a few other methods for achieving similar results in a pinch.

An espresso machine combines several components to produce a concentrated shot. Espresso machines operate by forcing hot water between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit through a condensed puck of finely ground coffee, according to Wong. Nine bars of pressure are used to quickly force the water through the grounds.

The ground coffee is placed in the basket of a portafilter and compacted with a tamper. The portafilter is secured to the group head and pumped with hot water from a reservoir within the machine. The hot water is pushed at a high pressure through the group head to the portafilter, where it passes through the grounds and drips into the cup waiting for espresso.

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