The making of espresso is both a science and an art. Over the years they have found that precision is required to make a great espresso. There are four factors that affect the making of a great shot. They are also called the four M’s.
The first factor is Macinazione or the proper grinding of the beans. Great baristas in fact will only grind beans for an espresso right before using them. 30 seconds after they have been ground, the beans are already too stale for a good espresso. The proper grind is between fine and powdery. The grind has to be uniform in order to insure the best taste. Instant powder will definitely make an awful espresso.
The second factor is Miscela or the coffee blend. Good beans means better tasting coffee. Perfectly logical, right?
The third factor is the Macchina or the espresso machine. Thanks to many inventors, you now have eay to use tools to help you make your espresso. But it will not magically make perfect espresso if you don’t know how to use it properly. The Rancilio Silva is considered the best by most espresso lovers but feel free to shop around til you find the machine that you are comfortable with.
The last factor is Mano or the skill of the barista – that means you. More than half the battle is knowing how to use your equipment properly. You need to know how to properly fill your filter basket. Some espresso lovers will tell you to tamp the ground coffee, others will tell you not to. Like all skills, making the perfect espresso takes practice so that your every espresso shot has that beautiful crema that is the mark of true espresso.