Step by Step DIY Espresso

Following up the previous article that covers almost every things you need to know about espresso, it’s time to make your own espresso at home.

And now, the moment you have been waiting for – the steps to make DIY pure espresso that will bring the maximum pleasure to your entire being. So, here there are:

Step No. 1 – Fill the espresso machine’s reservoir with cold, filtered, not too soft/ not too hard water. Please remember that proper water treatment is the very first step of highest importance.

Thus, unfiltered water will seriously damage the boiler and cause lame coffee taste, while hard water will accumulate serious scale. Make sure that you are provided with proper H2O and then you are ready to head to the following step.

Step No. 2 – Next step is to turn on the espresso machine and wait for it to heat up. Time is determined by the size of the espresso machine, ranging from fifteen to forty-five minutes.

Be patient and wait for the machine to warm up nicely, as this is an essential feature to ensure the most out oforiginal coffee taste.

Step No. 3Now it is time to lock the empty portafilter in the group head and ‘try out’ the espresso machine for few seconds.

Why this is an important ‘to-do’? Because this will bring clean, fresh water to the front and heat the  machine’s parts that actually get closest to your soon-to-be pure espresso coffee.

Once done, you should take care of the portafilter by wiping off its inside and then proceed with wiping off the group head’s underside. Thus, both
portafilter and underside will be ideally clean and dry.

Step No. 4 – Before making the long-desired cup of delicate, strong, earthy-flavoured pure espresso, do a quick check up to test the coffee’s fineness.

Make sure that your ‘coffee trial’ appears powdery and clumps loosely, but it also needs to feel a bit gritty when rubbed between fingers.

Step No. 5 – For an outstanding espresso experience, fill the portafilter with eighteen to twenty-one grams of freshly ground coffee. While dosing the coffee into the portafilter and coffee exits the chute, it is recommended to rotate the portafilter to make grounds settle evenly in the basket.

You can also use your forefinger to help you fill in existing air pockets and level the grounds.

Step No. 6 – What is coming next is ‘tamper time’. For this purpose, use your wrist, arm and elbow, and make sure they are positioned directly over the portafilter basket’s center.

Press evenly, by using your fingertips that need to feel the edge ofthe basket. Afterwards, inspect the dry puck, to get a clearer perspective whether the bed appears level or not.


Step No. 7 – Before you start brewing the coffee, return the portafilter to the grouphead. There are special models of espresso machines that come with separate ‘pre-brew’ and ‘preinfusion’ options, so if owning an espresso  machine of this kind, go for the first option.

This will release the stored gases before the full infusion starts. When it comes to fresh coffee, preinfusion is recommended until first drops start going out.

Step No. 8 – Now you are all set to start the infusion, thus end-brew at predetermined yield. Before serving the flawless, smoky cup of pure espresso, enhance the coffee’s beauty by making it a little bit creamy.

To do it so, you can choose the stirring option or you can simply pour the espresso into another cup.

Now, can you imagine how rich and complex the world of coffee actually is? Since this is a step-by-step-guide for eager novices with little to no experience at all in espresso preparation, it is quite normal that you won’t be able to nail every single step from the entire procedure, until you pamper yourself with a bit of practice.

Do not feel frustrated if your first cups of pure espresso do not taste right and as you have expected to. Remember, you are just a beginner and it is absolutely okay if first attempts are not okay.

Be more than ensured that with time and continuous practice, you will become a real espresso master and your versatile espresso machine will be your
favourite toy for exceptional espresso adventures.

Take a look at some of the common issues you may come across, but take it easy – we won’t just point out the possible troubles, but will also give you ideas on how to fix them.

Pure Espresso Tips & Troubleshooting


The Espresso Shot Went Too Fast – If this is what happened to you, it means that the water had been flying through and the puck has not done its job as supposed to, which resulted in lame espresso taste.

This condition is quite usual and it is commonly described as ‘under-extraction’.

Suggested ways to fix it:

  • Increase the dose of coffee;
  • Grind finer;
  • Tamp harder.

The Espresso Shot Took Too Long – Quite often, pure espresso tends to taste a little bit bitter, if the water had been prevented from flowing through the coffee in the recommended amount oftime.

Suggested ways to fix it:

  • Decrease the dose of coffee;
  • Grind coarser;
  • Tamp lighter.

The Espresso Shot Tastes Sour – If the chemical reaction between the coffee and the water stops too early, what you will get in your cup will be dark, brown water that tastes sour, just like the taste of undercooked food. That is why it is of the utmost importance to have everything in balance, so that you can extract all the right things from your coffee – not less, nor more.

Suggested ways to fix it:

  • Extend the brewing time;
  • Increase the water temperature.

The Espresso Shot Tastes Bitter – Ew, the bitterness of an over-extracted espresso! Isn’t that just too much for your stomach? Well, yes it is. And getting too much out of your coffee is one of the common issues that you may come across at the beginning of your espresso-making career.

Suggested ways to fix it:

  • Shorten the brewing time;
  • Decrease the water temperature.

The Espresso Shot Tastes Awkward – There are also cases when the espresso-making procedure turns to be unsuccessful, due to the fact that water does not pass evenly through the coffee. Such an experience usually results in weird, inconvenient espresso taste.

In this case, it is absolutely not your fault; it is not that you went too far, nor that you did not go far enough. Just, strange things happen and sometimes you cannot do anything to prevent them from happening. But, you can definitely put them in order.

Suggested ways to fix it:

  • Ensure even tamp;
  • Ensure even distribution;
  • Check for holes in the wet puck (so-called ‘channeling’).

The Espresso Shot Is Watery – The ideal espresso that will make your day should feature a syrupy, thick body. Achieving this requires meeting few conditions, including:

  • Condition Number 1 – Fresh coffee.
  • Condition Number 2 – Adequate brewing ratio (dose:yield);
  • Condition Number 3 – Adequate brewing time.

Believe it or not, but missing any of the aforementioned conditions would be quite enough to ruin your ultimate espresso-drinking pleasure.

Suggested ways to fix it:

  • Use fresh coffee;
  • Increase the dose of coffee;
  • Decrease the yield;
  • Grind finer;
  • Tamp harder.

The Espresso Shot’s Stream Was Uneven – When water is passing through the portafilter, it usually follows the path of least resistance. This means that if the puck is not secure and level, the path will be eventually crooked, thus disabling the espresso to pour from the center in a single stream. Do not worry, you can easily deal with this convenient espresso-making trouble. It only requires a couple of quick check-ups.

Hence, suggested ways to fix it:

  • Ensure level tamp;
  • Ensure even distribution.

The Espresso Shot Has Little To No Crema At All – An espresso without its natural, silky cream is definitely not an espresso. When you prepare your coffee and you see very little or no crema at all in your espresso shot, it means that something went wrong during the espresso ‘making-of’.

There are two common reasons, or better said, causers that contributed to this unpleasant experience:

  • Reason Number 1 Your coffee is too old.
  • Reason Number 2 – The puck is not resisting the pressured water sufficiently.

Hence, our suggested ways to fix it:

  • Increase the dose of coffee;
  • Grind finer;
  • Use ONLY fresh coffee.

The Espresso Shot Is Nothing But Crema – Here is one more helpful information to boost your beginner’s coffee knowledge: coffee beans that still hold a lot of gas from the roasting process, are not ready for brewing. Thus, if your espresso shot is all about foam, a little patience is all that can save you from this unwelcome espresso-making trouble.

A suggested way to fix it:

  • Give your coffee few more days to rest and get ready for brewing.

But wait, we are not done for today. Now when you have been boosted with the basics of making the best pure espresso in the world, you are probably ready to expand your ultimate coffee-making knowledge and learn what else you can use your espresso machine for. Let me just say one simple word – LATTE!

I know you have already tried it and I am sure, you have loved it! And you are right. If the strong, full-bodied espresso works perfectly to ‘awake’ your body system, by empowering it with concentration, energy and vitality, the beautiful latte is here to revive all your senses at highest levels possible.

In fact, a cup of latte is the perfect companion for single and group coffee-drinking occasions.