Espresso preparation with the portafilter coffee machine

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Sunday, 8:00 in the morning, you crawl out of bed sleepy and want only one thing: a perfect espresso that makes you forget that you got up on the wrong side of the bed. So that your coffee preparation with the portafilter coffee machine doesn't cost you even more nerves than a good espresso can give you, we have a step-by-step guide for the perfect espresso for you. Click here for the short version

Table of contents

  • The ingredients and accessories you need
  • The portafilter - the heart of your coffee machine
  • Influence of the coffee cup
  • The right degree of painting
  • The right amount
  • Leveling and tamping
  • Pre-cleaning of the brew group
  • Extraction of your espresso 
  • Runtime
  • Espresso as the basis for cappuccino and co.
  • Short version 

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The ingredients and accessories you need

  • Your favorite coffee, you will surely find it in our store!
  • portafilter coffee maker
  • Coffee grinder, we recommend for example the Baratza Vario Home
  • Fine scale or kitchen scale
  • Tamper    
  • Optional Leveler & Brush

The portafilter - the heart of your coffee machine 

Always make sure that your portafilter is dry and clean before filling it with new coffee powder. This will prevent residues that can affect the taste of your espresso. You can clean it carefully with a suitable brush and a clean cloth.

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Your cups like it hot

Make sure your cups are always warm. With the small amount of espresso, your coffee cools down very quickly. It is best to place your cups directly on the portafilter coffee machine. For espresso, you can also fill the cups with hot water from the spout and let them stand for a short time while you grind your coffee beans. 

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The right grind - fine, finer, portafilter

When buying a portafilter coffee maker, don't skimp on your grinder. A good grinder is almost as important as your coffee machine. 

Grind your coffee beans on a fine to very fine setting. The grind is between Turkish coffee (finer) and coffee for mocha pots. The contact time of the coffee powder with the hot water is very short when preparing with the portafilter coffee machine. In this short time, all the important aromas should be released. A fine grind helps you to do this, as your coffee powder thus has a larger surface area than with coarsely ground coffee. 

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The right amount: fill up once, please?

As a guideline for the amount of coffee powder in the portafilter, you can roughly remember:

Single sieve for 1 espresso: 7-14g

Double strainer for 2 espresso: 14-26g

The lowest and highest values are very extreme, we usually settle in the middle. For our fruity-explosive and nutty roasts, we use significantly more quantity than for our chocolatey-Italian classics. Just feel your way to the perfect amount for you and find out what tastes best to you. 

Leveling and tamping - tools for the perfect finish

Leveling means nothing more than bringing the coffee powder to a uniform level. When grinding, it often happens that lumps form in the powder or the coffee is distributed unevenly in the portafilter. You can counteract this by leveling the powder before tamping. Leveling works best with a so-called Leveller. With this tool, you can distribute your coffee powder evenly before tamping. If you don't want to buy an extra device for this at the beginning, you can also distribute your coffee powder by lightly tapping it. To do this, first gently tap the portafilter on a surface, e.g. your tamper station, and then lightly tap the side of the portafilter a few times with your fingers.

Tampering ensures that your coffee powder solidifies evenly and thus provides the optimum surface for the subsequent water and pressure supply. You will often hear of 15-20kg of contact pressure when tamping - don't worry your head here. For a first feeling you can test the pressure with a small scale. In general, this statement only means that you don't have to press the residual air out of the coffee powder like a professional wrestler with full body effort, both hands and, best of all, your knee - no, a medium pressure with one hand is sufficient, which you apply so firmly that you feel a slight resistance from the coffee powder at the end. And in this case, it's not a case of "all good things come in threes" - 1x tamp is perfectly sufficient.

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Pre-cleaning of the brew group - fancy also called "flushing

During the brewing process, coffee residues are created in the brewing head of your portafilter coffee machine. To remove this, simply press the rinse button once before you insert your portafilter. This is also called an empty draw. Let the hot water run for 2-3 seconds. Your coffee residues are removed and nothing stands in the way of your perfect espresso enjoyment. 

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Extraction of your espresso - Here we go!

Now you can finally clamp your portafilter. Immediately after clamping, press the desired extraction button - single or double espresso - on your machine. Only then do you place the cups under the portafilter spout.

Why is this step so important?

As soon as the portafilter is clamped in place, the coffee powder comes into contact with the hot, moist underside of the brew group. Your coffee already absorbs water in the process and would be over-extracted if you waited too long. However, the coffee powder soaks up hot water in the first few seconds after you press the button anyway, until the puck is completely soaked. This is also called pre-infusion. So before your espresso runs out of the spout, you have plenty of time to place your cups under the spout. Admittedly, there is a certain thrill involved in the first few attempts - but you'll be really awake afterwards. 

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It's on ... your perfect espresso to enjoy

Your espresso should flow out in a constant thin stream over about 25-30 seconds. For a single espresso, you can count on about 25ml of liquid. This guideline is based on your personal taste on the one hand, and on the beans you use on the other. Dark roasted beans you can rather settle in the lower range of the time span, because otherwise your coffee can taste very bitter and loses its fine-chocolatey note. With fruity, light-roasted beans, on the other hand, feel free to experiment a bit. A shorter run means more freshness and acidity, the longer your espresso runs, the more velvety-sweet it becomes. With this in mind, just try it out and enjoy.

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The basis - the espresso as the basis for cappuccino and co.

With an espresso, you can easily conjure up the perfect cappuccino in a further step. Use a cappuccino cup instead of your espresso cup. Then use the steam lance of your portafilter or your milk frother to froth up around 130ml of milk into a fine-pored, creamy milk foam. It is important that your milk does not get too hot, otherwise your cappuccino will taste bitter. Here, a rough indication of approx. 65° applies. It's best to keep one hand on the milk jug at all times while foaming - if you can just barely touch the jug, your milk is ready. Then pour the foamed milk onto your finished espresso. When doing this, start with a little more distance from the cup so that your milk combines well with the espresso. Towards the end of pouring, move the spout of your pot closer to the edge of the cup to create beautiful latte art patterns.

And now all you have to do is enjoy your cappuccino and sit back.

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Here again the short version

  • Preheat cups with hot water
  • Clean the portafilter from coffee residues and dry with a cloth if necessary
  • Grind espresso beans at a fine to very fine grind
  • Fill portafilter with coffee powder FAUSTREGEL: ~ 16-22 grams of coffee powder for a double spout (2 espressos=Doppio)
  • Level coffee powder and tamp it afterwards
  • Pre-clean the brew group with hot water for 2-3 seconds, also called "flush".
  • Clamp portafilter, immediately press desired button & only then place cups under spout
  • Extract & enjoy espresso between 25-30 seconds

You prefer to watch the tutorial as a video? Here you go:

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