An Espresso Adventure
Graduation….Marriage….and now I have an espresso machine?
Yes, knowing how much I love coffee and my need to save as much money as possible my friends came together and bought me and my husband an espresso machine, which means I can finally make my own cappuccinos.
Let me tell you, it is harder than it looks!
The machine I received is a simple one. The knob has three options: Brew, off, and steam. And yet, it has taken me weeks to understand how to use it.
After the honeymoon, the hubby and I opened it up, cleaned and primed it, and began to use it. We even got some fun beans from The Harvest Coffeehouse & Beanery called “Frankenmuth Fudge” beforehand. We ran out of milk so our first time using it, we decided to just try making the espresso. Making just espresso is easy:
Step 1: Grind the beans
Step 2: Put the desired amount of ground coffee (preferably espresso) beans inside of the port-a-filter (see pic. 1) and tap the grounds down (called tampening). Be sure the beans are finely grounded.
Step 3: Add the desired amount of water to the water reservoir .
Step 4 Simply attach the port-a-filter to the espresso machine, put a ceramic mug underneath it, and turn the knob to “brew”
Now, before we get into my disaster attempts at frothing, lets talk about the bean situation. We used coffee beans for our first few times and since getting settled with the machine, I still do because it’s convenient. That being said, we did use espresso beans a few times and I can tell you—it makes a difference. It still does the trick using regular coffee beans but if you can swing, espresso is the way to go.
Of course, I took to the internet to do a basic search and found that while they are similar and you can use them, they won’t stand up to the high pressure from an espresso machine as well. Espresso beans are also normally dark roasted, offer less acidity and are richest in the natural oils that coffee has.  Plus, dark roasts pairs best when making milk based drinks like, my favorite, cappuccinos.
Now! My frothing adventure was what threw me for a loop. Perhaps I have a lot more to learn about espresso on it’s own but frothing to make a cappuccino is the hardest. Based off the abundance of YouTube tutorials and directions elsewhere on the internet I am not alone. After watching one video, I think I have the basis down for it. As for right now, I feel good about my amateur frothing skills. This is what I do:
After I hit brew:
-Pour milk into a short mug (I don’t put too much in).
– Once the espresso has brewed just a little bit, I slowly turn the knob to “steam” with the mug of milk underneath the frothing wand (pic. 2). While it steams I rotate the mug slowly, creating foam, until the bottom of the mug gets warm.
-Then I continue to brew the espresso until it’s finished (I might b adding too much espresso to my drinks).
-Finally, I add them together in another mug. (TIP: If you pour the milk into the espresso, you can use a spoon to stop the foam from entering the mug until after the steamed portion is added to the espresso.)
-Because I don’t know how to make latte art yet, I just use some chocolate syrup to add a heart to be cute!
Of course as I’ve hinted towards, I’m not an expert and I may not be doing this correctly. However, I’ve watched one tutorial on YouTube, so I shall link that here:
Happy Caffeination, Friends!