How to Pull a Perfect Espresso Shot

Your favorite barista sure makes it look easy: Throw some coffee into a portafilter, pack it down with a tamper, lock it in the brew group and turn it on. Voila! A gorgeous, rich and delicious shot with a heady crema perfect for sipping.

In fact, it looks so easy, you should be able to do it, right? Cut to your house the morning after your new machine arrives, and you’re frazzled and frustrated by the bitter and watery shots coming out of your precious new contraption. Ugh! Well, maybe you just can’t get good espresso at home — maybe that’s what the $4/mug price tag is for, eh?

No way! Anyone can pull a perfect shot — every time — provided they follow a few simple guidelines around preparing and extracting their espresso. In this basic guide, we discuss the four main techniques in pulling espresso: dose, grind, tamp and pour. Take a moment to improve your skill and you’ll be making professional tasting espresso in no time!

Recipe: Cafe Creme Brulee

Sometimes, we just need a little sugar on our tongue — how about you? The deliciously decadent Cafe Creme Brulee is sure to give you a seriously sweet pep in your step.

With two different kinds of chocolate sauces, espresso and the frothed milk of your choice, the Cafe Creme Brulee is a tasty way to invigorate your day!

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine sauces and espresso in 12-oz. mug. Stir until well combined.
  2. Pour steamed milk into mug; stir to combine.
  3. Top with froth from steamed milk.
  4. Sprinkle with vanilla powder or drizzle with Ghirardelli Creamy Caramel Flavored Sauce.

Superautomatics: No Love for the Oily Bean

One of the most common issues we see in our repair shop is a Superautomatic machine (such as a Saeco, DeLonghi or Jura Capresso) with a non-functional grinder. Often, the ‘Out of Beans’ light will be on, regardless of how many beans are in the hopper, and the grinder will cease functioning properly.

The cause? Those super dark roasted, oily beans! Superautomatics require a very dry bean, as the oilier beans leave too much moisture in the hopper and the grinder, eventually building up and clogging the machine. We really recommend that you try a lighter, drier roast, but if you just can’t break your addiction to oily beans, here are a couple of tips to keep your machine from breaking down over time:

  1. Each time you refill your hopper, thoroughly wipe out the entire accessible area with a highly absorbent paper towel
  2. Super fine grinds + oily beans = coffee cement, so dial your grinder in to the coarsest possible setting and you’ll mitigate some of the issue
  3. Regular maintenance & cleaning of your superautomatic will reduce the build-up from oily beans

New! DeLonghi Espresso/Drip Coffee Combo

Sometimes you feel like a drip…sometimes you don’t. Er, sorry. We know there’s a time and place for espresso, and if you live with someone who loves drip coffee and isn’t too hot on espresso drinks (or vice versa), these DeLonghi 2-in-1 models may just be the compromise that keeps your mornings peaceful.

Featuring programmable brew times, a flavor selector, milk frothing wands and simultaneous espresso & drip coffee brewing, these units will save you counter space and time.

Meet Our Whale: Cappuccino

We have a new member of our team: Cappuccino the Orca! We adopted Cappuccino, a 22 year old male whale, who is a member of the K-pod within the Southern Resident Killer Whale community. These whales spend the months of May – September in the Salish Sea, feasting on salmon and showing off for the locals.

Our adoption fee supports the education and scientific study programs of the Whale Museum of Friday Harbor, who are one of the many stewards of these endangered animals. Is there a whale you’d like to adopt? Go for it!

How to Brew & Steam: Rancilio Silvia

One of our most popular machines, the Semi-Automatic Rancilio Silvia is an excellent value for its functionality and class. Featuring all brass components and a traditional steam wand (unique in this price range and essential to making latte art), the Silvia is a durable, mid-class home espresso machine.

If you are new to using a Rancilio Silvia, it’s well worth the time to follow our step-by-step guide on how to use the machine to get the best possible results. Learning the basics will improve the overall taste and presentation of your drinks — and you’ll impress your friends and family with your professional style!