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DIY Espresso

Making espresso at home is a way to really take control of your home coffee experience. Espresso is a fundamental building block to your coffee shop favorites, so imagine the possibilities that open when you can make delicious espresso in your own kitchen.  

Understanding Espresso

Espresso is coffee that is extracted under extremely high pressure. It’s much stronger than coffee that you brew in a pot or French press. Espresso shots are pulled, rather than brewed, which refers to the extraction process. Espresso beans are typically very dark and must be ground finely to ensure maximum surface area for extraction. You can either purchase espresso beans online or may be able to find them at your local coffee roaster.

The Setup

Making espresso at home does require some specialized equipment. You can, of course, ask the baristas at your favorite coffee shop what kind of espresso machine they use, but you likely won’t be able to afford the price tag that comes with a professional espresso machine. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for home espresso machines that are merely a fraction of the cost of a high-end model. They pull equally delicious espresso, but since you’re probably not going to be pulling more than a few shots a day, you definitely don’t need the capacity or heft of the machine behind the counter at your favorite shop. Some home espresso machines press the grounds in the same fashion as a high-end machine. Others operate simply on the stove top - just brew your espresso grounds in water, press and go. There are also single brew espresso systems that pull shots for you. These appliances do give you a nice dark shot, though it’s not technically espresso since it’s not pressed in the same way as the above methods. However, many home coffee enthusiasts find single brew shots quite enjoyable.  

Putting It All Together

Once you have a way to pull your own espresso shots at home, the sky’s the limit! You can make all of your coffee shop favorites without stepping out the door or standing in an obnoxious line. Consider investing in an inexpensive milk steamer to give you the second component for constructing lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and more. Once you know how to add espresso, milk and syrup for the drinks that you love, you’ll be inviting all of your friends over for custom espresso tastings.
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