How to make espresso at home

Victoria Woodward

UK

Discover the secrets of one of Italy’s favourite drinks. Espresso coffee is fast and satisfying: made by forcing very hot water by high pressure through finely ground coffee. We spill the beans on how to make the perfect cup of espresso – and how best to enjoy it in the comfort of your own home.

How to make an espresso at home

Freshly pressed and quickly brewed in under 30 seconds. And yes, you can do it! Here’s how to make an authentic-tasting espresso with the KitchenAid at-home espresso machine:
•   Fill the water tank with fresh water and switch your machine on
•   The water will start to heat
•   Once heated, select your filter basket and press it into the portafilter
•   Fill the filter basket with espresso grounds 
•   Tap the portafilter to level off the grounds and rest it on a level surface
•   Use a tamper to press the grounds down firmly and evenly
•   Position the portafilter under the group head of the machine
•   Twist the handle to lock it in
•   Select the dose – and that’s it!

Discover the espresso machine >

What is an espresso?

Espresso isn’t a kind of bean. It’s a brewing method, from the Italian word for ‘pressed out’. A small amount of nearly boiling water, under pressure, is forced through finely ground coffee beans, delivering to you the purest essence of the bean.
 
Loved for its potency, it is thicker and more intense than other types of coffee. Espresso is either served in single or double shots, or used for making a host of delicious drinks – such as latte, cappuccino or macchiato – and desserts, from a classic Tiramisu, to ice cream.  

Is espresso high in caffeine?

Many people think a cup of espresso contains more caffeine than other types of brewed coffee.
However, because you drink only a small volume of coffee, espressos tend to have lower levels of caffeine per serving. An average shot of espresso (30ml) contains around 63mg of caffeine, while the average serving of drip- brewed coffee (178ml) contains around 110mg.

As we drink an espresso shot much faster than drip coffee, we get a sensation of a strong ‘hit’ of caffeine. This can make us feel like we’ve had more caffeine than we actually have.

Use a machine for a truly authentic taste

You may be surprised to hear that truly authentic espresso is not made in a pot. Espresso coffee was always made in a machine, first designed in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo. Decades later, Luigi Bezzera enhanced his design, adding a portafilter and multiple brew heads.
 
Today, espresso machines are even smarter, with technology such as the dual, smart temperature sensors in our KitchenAid espresso machines. These unique sensors actively communicate with each other throughout the brewing process, making sure that optimal temperature is maintained. 

Another innovation is our special portafilter which has recessed spouts and a conveniently flat base of 58mm diameter for stable tamping. The espresso machine remains true to the original method and is a real design classic to enjoy every day.
 
Fall in love with the Espresso machine – Artisan >

Which of our espresso machines is for you? 
Compare them at a glance below...

Stainless steel Artisan espresso machine

Espresso machine - Artisan

Dual, smart temperature sensorsYes
Flat, commercial portafilter  Yes
Low press pre-infusionYes
Accessories included   Yes
Colours 7
Material housingStainless steel
Guarantee5 years

​​

Espresso machine

Dual, smart temperature sensorsYes
Flat, commercial portafiltersYes
Low press pre-infusionYes
Accessories includedYes
Colours2
Material housingDurable plastic
Guarantee2 years

Black espresso machine

How to get creamy crema

Crema is the famous golden or rust-coloured froth which is naturally produced on the top of an espresso shot. How is it created? It’s all a matter of pressure. Pump espresso machines produce enough pressure to achieve that elusive, rich crema.

The KitchenAid espresso machines have a 15-bar Italian pump for the optimal pressure to produce a rich shot. This means you can make authentic-tasting espressos of the type that you would expect to be served in your favourite coffee house.

More about what is crema in coffee >

Which coffee roast for espresso?

While espresso aficionados disagree on many things, they agree on the roast of the bean and the precision of the grind. A good rule of thumb is that palate-tingling darker roasts go best with quick coffee brew methods, like espresso machines. 

This is because lighter roasts produce less porous beans and so the compounds are extracted more slowly. Drip or pour-over methods are ideal for enjoying lighter roasts. But if used in espresso, light roasts can end up tasting bland.  

Explore different types of coffee beans >

Grind your own beans for a full flavour

Red Artisan coffee grinder

Grinding your own beans, rather than buying pre-ground, guarantees wonderful flavours and aroma. It’s best to grind the coffee beans right before you make the drink for maximum freshness. 

With 70 grind settings and automatic dosing control, our KitchenAid coffee grinder gives you the freedom to experiment with grind sizes, and always delivers a precise dose. There’s even a built-in portafilter holder to use, so you’re all ready for tamping. Trust us, you'll feel like a pro. 

Look at the coffee grinder >

How to drink an espresso

Surely you just drink it, right? To drink your shot like a true Italian, take the time to:
•   cleanse your palate with a glass of water, preferably sparkling
•   smell the espresso to enjoy the intense aroma
•   stir in your crema and optional sugar (usually favoured in Italy)
•   sip or gulp – both give a different taste sensation but whichever you prefer, drink it before it cools
•   let the coffee fill your mouth… and savour it.

"Espresso is a miracle of chemistry
in a cup."

Get creative with milky espresso drinks

You’ve learnt how to make espresso at home. Now it’s time to get adventurous with a whole new world of coffee creations – cappuccinos, macchiatos, frappes and more. Our espresso machine has a built- in steam wand to give your chosen milk a rich, velvety warmth. 

As well as cow’s milk, you can, of course, opt for a plant-based (non-dairy) variety like soy milk, almond milk, oat milk or coconut milk. Vegans don’t have to miss out on the joy of coffee any more, whether you’re in a coffee shop or relaxing at home.

The steam wand and jug method will allow you to control exactly the right consistency for your coffee drink. You can dip it right in to create a rolling motion and produce steamed (heated) milk, or place it at the surface to incorporate lots of air to produce milk foam.

Tip: Start off with nice cold milk and a cold jug. This avoids the milk overheating and will produce tiny bubbles which make better foam. 

"A bad day with coffee is better than
a good day without it."

 

 

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