How To Make Coffee With Espresso Machine?

Espresso machines can seem pretty confusing when you first look at them. The steam wand and the multiple buttons can seem mind-boggling. However, they are quite simple to use. Once you learn how to measure the coffee, control the buttons, and use the steam wand/milk frothers, you will be good to go. Our guide will help you prepare the perfect cup of coffee from an espresso machine.

You can make coffee in an espresso machine in three steps. Fill the portafilter with ground coffee. Tamp the coffee and pull the shot. After that, steam the milk using a steaming wand, and then prepare your coffee. You can use an espresso machine to make Americanos, Cappuccinos, and other drinks similar to regular coffee.

Part One: Prepare Your Espresso

Before teaching you how to make coffee in an espresso machine, we will teach you how to make espresso. You can use this espresso to make regular coffee.  If you already know how to make espresso, then skip part one.

For this recipe, we are using 7g of coffee and making a single shot of espresso.

Ingredients

  • 8 grams of coffee grounds
  • Water

Instructions

Step 1

Turn on your espresso machine and let it preheat. Give the machine 10 minutes to preheat and get ready. Once it is warm, it will result in a better extraction.

Step 2

Put around 7-8 grams of ground coffee on the portafilter basket. Use a weighing scale to accurately measure the weight. Smoothen the coffee grounds in the basket using your fingers and brush off any excess coffee on the walls of the portafilter basket

Step 3

Take the tamper and press down straight on the coffee to make the grounds entirely even in the portafilter basket. Tamp it until the grounds cannot sink any deeper. (the rule is to apply 30 lbs of pressure)

Step 4

Take your cup and purge the group head. Drain the water in the cup now. Insert the portafilter basket into the group head. Place the cup on a scale and put it under the dispenser. Start your timer and then begin preparing the shot by pressing the single shot button. After 20 seconds, press stop.

Step 5

Espresso will pour into your cup. Now, if your espresso tastes sour, it means it is under-extracted, and you should use a finer grind next time. If the espresso is bitter, your espresso is over-extracted, and you should switch to a course grind.

We also recommend that you read our article on the easy recipe to prepare an Espresso shot at home. It discusses the French-Press Method and Instant Coffee Method along with guides and hacks to make the perfect espresso shot.

Terms To Understand While Making Espresso

If you feel like the espresso recipe above is a little complicated, read about some of the terms below along with their definitions and you will be good to go.

Dose

The dose is the weight of dry ground coffee that you will place in the portafilter. It is the amount of coffee you are using to make your espresso. There will be a dose basket present with your espresso machines. The quantity of the dose varies with the kind of espresso you want to create.

If you want to have more espresso, increase the dose size. However, you should not change the dose size to adjust the espresso’s flavor or make it stronger or weaker. The dose should also not be altered to change the shot time. You should only change the dose size when you want to increase the yield (the amount of espresso made).

Yield

The yield will be the quantity of the espresso made, i.e., the amount/weight of espresso poured into the cup. The larger the yield, the more water flowed through the ground coffee, implying a higher extraction. A higher yield means your espresso is less concentrated.

Time

When it comes to espresso-making, time means the contact time between coffee and water. A single shot takes around 15-20 seconds. A double shot takes approximately 20-25 seconds, and a triple shot takes 30 seconds. These are the times after which you press stop on the espresso machine. Have your timer ready at all times.

Purging

Purging the group head means running a small amount of hot water between different shots. This process allows you to heat the group head, remove the ground from the dispersion screen, and flush any cold water in the reservoir to replace it with ideal-temperature water.

Single Shot, Double Shot, and Triple Shot

A single shot of espresso is relatively lighter than double and triple shots. A single shot contains around 63 mg of caffeine (1 ounce of coffee). A double shot contains its double, i.e., 126 mg of caffeine. A triple shot contains 189 mg of caffeine.

Portafilter Basket Sizes

Portafilter baskets come in different sizes. You may change the dose size because of the size of the portafilter basket. This allows you to optimize the extraction for the basket you are using.

Some portafilter baskets hold a fixed amount of coffee as specified by the manufacturer. It is advised to stay within one or two grams of that weight to yield the best outcome. A “double” basket holds 14-18g of ground coffee. 

A single basket can accommodate 7g of ground coffee, whereas a triple basket can accommodate roughly 21g.

Picking the Dose Size

You should use about 7g of ground coffee for a single dose; for a double shot, about 14 g. You use 21 g for a triple shot. When the dose (ground coffee)  is dry, it should never be so tall in the basket that it reaches the shower screen. Even if, after tamping, your ground coffee is standing too high, it means you need to lower the dose size. Always check to make sure the dose does not come in contact with the shower screen.

Coffee grounds being tamped.

Why Do We Tamp The Ground Coffee?

We tamp the ground coffee for better extraction. When we tamp, the coffee grounds get packet together, and the full flavor of the coffee beans gets extracted. We make it harder for the water to flow through the coffee, and that brings more flavor to the espresso. Tamping also helps to keep the group head clean.

Tamping is the process of pressing down the coffee grounds in the portafilter with a tamper. An espresso machine works by sending pressurized water into the portafilter and the ground-filled basket.

Can I Make Regular Coffee Using An Espresso Maker?

You can only make regular coffee in an espresso maker if your espresso machine is multipurpose and allows you to make both. We have already talked about making espresso with a Ninja coffee maker. Generally, espresso machines make only espresso and espresso-based drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos. They work differently than regular coffee makers by sending pressurized water into the coffee grounds. However, regular coffee can be made on a stove, a percolator, and even a French press without the pressure.

Part Two: Using The Espresso To Make Coffee

Once you have prepared the Espresso shot, it is now time to prepare a cup of coffee.

How To Make Regular Coffee From Espresso?

You can simply add hot water to the espresso to make regular coffee. This drink is also called an ‘Americano’. If you own an espresso machine and want to make regular coffee, then an Americano is your best option. If you want a more milky coffee, try our latte recipe above, as it will taste kind of like regular coffee.

Either one or two shots of espresso and various water ratios can be used to make the drink. An authentic Americano does not contain milk, but if you want a regular coffee-type drink, you can add creamer or milk to your mug after step 2.

Ingredients

  • Two ounces of single or double shot espresso.
  • Four ounces of hot water (1/2 cup).

Instructions

Step 1

Make espresso using the steps given above and pour it into a cup.

Step 2

Boil water in a pot or the espresso machine to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the hot water into the espresso cup. If you want a lighter coffee, increase the amount of water.

Making Milky Coffee Using Espresso

If your machine has a milk steamer, you’re in luck and can have café style drinks. If not, then use any other milk steamer to create espresso-based drinks. You can use the espresso you prepared to make coffee. In this recipe, we are simply adding milk to the espresso. This drink is also called a ‘latte’.

Requirements

  • Milk jug.
  • Your prepared espresso.
  • ½ cup milk.

Instructions

Step 1

Pour the milk into the milk jug or steel pitcher. Turn on the steam wand and let it stay that way for a few seconds.

Step 2

Put the steamer into the milk jug and let it froth the milk. Touch the milk jug briefly with the tip of your finger. When the pitcher/milk jug is so hot that you can only touch your finger there for a second, then the milk is warm enough. When the foam has reached the desired consistency, stop the steamer and take the milk jug from under the wand.

Step 3

Pour the frother milk into the mug containing espresso. Make sure you hold the jug from a high position. A small amount of stiff foam should be visible sitting on the cup. Now your latte is ready.

Steamed milk poured into a cup.

Using The Espresso To Make Mocha Coffee

Mocha is a fantastic drink for those that want a sweeter touch to their coffee. It is perfect for those who want something chocolaty but also need a caffeine boost. You can make a great cup of mocha by using chocolate syrup (or cocoa powder) and whipped cream.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup low-fat milk (2 ounces)
  • Two tablespoons of chocolate syrup or one tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces espresso
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Milk jug

Instructions

Step 1

Pour the milk into the milk jug and turn on the steam wand. Heat the steam wand to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the coffee using the steam want until the desired consistency is reached.

Step 2

Put the chocolate syrup or cocoa powder in your mug. Also, add the espresso to your mug.

Step 3

Add the steamed milk into the mug and top the mocha with a little whipped cream.

Nutritional Content Per Serving Of Coffee Vs. Espresso.
 CoffeeEspresso
Serving size8-12 oz.2-3 oz.
Calories2.45.4
Calcium4.8 mg1.2 mg
Caffeine96 mg127 mg
Magnesium3 mg80 mg
Vitamin B30.191 mg5.207 mg

Suggested Reading – Black Coffee vs Milk Coffee – 5 Major Differences

Conclusion

Making espresso in an espresso maker requires patience. While the whole process is pretty straightforward, if you want to make the most calculated shot, then you will need to learn using the pressure dial. However, we taught you how to make a basic single shot of espresso. Just change the quantity of ground coffee for a different shot, as explained above, and you are good to go. Also, make sure you try fantastic espresso-based lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas!

Bilal Ahmad

Bilal Ahmad

A coffee enthusiast on his way to exploring more about coffee while helping others solve all their Coffee Queries!