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5 Best Espresso Tips

Learn the five best espresso tips from the experts at Third Rail Coffee in this Howcast video.


My name is Mike Jones and I'm a barista at Third Rail Coffee right by Washington Square Park in New York City. I'm gonna teach you some basic coffee-making skills.

Alright so I'm gonna give you a couple tips for preparing espresso, a couple things that are overlooked and that will really improve the results you're seeing. One of those is consistency. There's now an endless amount of information on the internet and in books on how to make espresso and there are some there are definitely standards that everyone knows to do which is to dose evenly in the basket, to tamp evenly and consistently, and then to have a shot that's pulled between twenty-one to thirty seconds, yielding 1 1/2 to 2 ounces volume. That's sort of the if you just look up how to prepare espresso on websites like, that's what they're saying. But there are also people giving opinions on whether or not to use your finger to distribute the coffee once you put in the portafilter, whether or not to knock the portafilter which is called settling it, which is a technique used to overdose, meaning to put more coffee in the basket than is intended to be in there. And all I can say is, as long as you're just doing the same thing every time, and it's consistent and even - that is the biggest thing. So at least as far as how you've dialed the new espresso. So if I got a shot that tasted good and I just like, filled the basket, knocked it around to get the grounds even in there, tamped the certain way, and then pulled it for a certain amount of time I'm just gonna wanna do that every time. And if it starts straying, I'm going to adjust so that I can do the same consistent actions to get the same result. The other tip is cleanliness - very much overlooked. If you taste a shot that's pulled from a portafilter that has been used for two hours, not cleaned, and then taste that side by side with a brand new sparkling clean one, the difference is incredible. There's no hashy, bitter, aspirin-y taste to it. It's just clean, balanced, beautiful. I'd rather have a just kind-of okay shot from a clean machine than a well-pulled shot from a dirty portafilter. So cleanliness, consistency - a couple tips.

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