When you go into a cafe for your morning coffee, the espresso machine is buzzing and the barista is dancing around it, pulling shots fast and furiously. It takes a long time to get to that level of speed and efficiency, but pulling a shot of espresso isn’t as tough as you’d think. Here are a few tips for pulling great shots:
- Keep it consistent. From grind size to tamping pressure to brew time, keep all variables the same as much as possible. That way when you want to make an adjustment to affect the flavor, it’ll be easier to pin-point the area of change.
- Watch those wrists! If you’re pulling a lot of shots, it’s important to protect your joints. When tamping your grounds on the edge of the counter, keep your wrist straight and your elbow pointing up towards the sky. You want your wrist and forearm to be perpendicular to the counter, and your elbow to be bent at a right angle. Similarly, always keep your wrist straight and strong when taking the basket in and out of the espresso machine. No twisty wrists!
- Taste the espresso rainbow. When learning to pull a good shot, it’s important to taste and analyze as much espresso as possible. Try different coffee varieties, visit different cafes, play around with different machine settings. Taste, taste, taste and soon you’ll know a good shot by your tongue alone.
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