P Pat Cotter

Tips for Your New Espresso Machine

Oct 6, 2021 · coffee · educational · espresso
Tips for Your New Espresso Machine

So you have your new espresso machine, you’ve plugged it in, filled it with water, and powered it on. What’s next? What are some things you can expect? What can you do to have a better experience for the first time with your new machine? We’ve got some tips for you!

Water Hardness and Filtration

Many espresso machines come with water hardness test strips. This is often to help you calibrate how frequently you need to descale the machine. Sometimes it’s used with a proprietary filter, which will offer the best performance since it’s tailored to the machine. If you don’t have a filter for the machine then using filtered water is recommended. You shouldn’t use distilled water because, for one thing, the mineral content in water does affect the taste. More importantly though, most machines use a water detection sensor that sends a small electrical signal through the minerals in the water. Distilled water will often fail the sensor and the machine will think there’s no water in the reservoir. The last thing you should do is use unfiltered water. This is because it can cause fast mineral build up leading to a need to descale frequently. This can be a pain, and can put strain on the machine’s components.

Setting Up a Workflow

One thing to keep in mind is how you set up your coffee storage, grinder, and machine for comfortable workflow. You’ll want to make sure you can easily dose your coffee, grind it, tamp it, then brew and steam your milk. What this looks like in your kitchen will be unique, so it’s really up to you to experiment! With that said, it’s worth thinking about it early on so that you don’t run into a situation where you’re trying to re-arrange your entire setup.

Never Give Up!

Learning to make your own espresso drinks at home is challenging! There’s a lot of technique to be learned when it comes to dialing in your shots and steaming milk. Generally, if you see problems early on it has to do with your grind and tamp. Don’t be afraid to make a lot of adjustments, and remember that it’s OK if you waste some coffee while you learn to dial your shots in. It’s hard, but if you stick with it it’s very rewarding!

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