Coffee made at home can taste different from professionally made coffee even if you are using the same beans. Why is that? One reason could be that you are not using the same machine but often it is the way you store or prepare your coffee grinds before “pulling the shot” (pressing ‘Go’ on the machine).
Today we are looking at how to prepare & tamp your grinds in your Delonghi coffee porta-filter so you get the best shot in NZ!
The Filling Step
Of course, the grind is important so set your grinder setting to espresso. The size of the grind has a direct impact on the taste. A coarse grind has a less bitter taste as the water moves over it faster and has less coffee bean surface area contact.
Now you can fill the porta-filter basket (the removable cup-shaped insert) with little spoonfuls until a little peak is created, higher than the basket edge.
Get The Level Of It
Use your finger to swipe gently across the top (your little hill of coffee will move to one side). Don’t push down. Repeat in the opposite direction until the grounds are quite level with the top edge.
The aim of this is to evenly spread the grounds and remove gaps near the basket edge.
Use the tamper in your dominant hand. Place your porta-filter next to the side of your counter (don’t rest it on its spouts below the filter) and let one of its edges get a grip on the edge of the counter.
Place the tamper, no pushing, as level as you can onto the grounds.
Now the next step sounds like a gym routine but it is how baristas are trained - and it works…
Lift your dominant arm and align your upper arm in a parallel position to the counter. Your lower arm and hand must be pointing straight down.
Maintaining the right angle angled arm position, push down and keep your arm straight. The first push can be about 15 kgs pressure (do a test run with your bathroom scale). The next press down can be 30 kgs of pressure. Don’t add a flourishing twist as this can put out your perfectly level grounds.
Keep It Tidy
Next, you need to tidy up the grounds around the rim of the porta-filter. Blow softly around the rim or dust with a clean, dry finger. This ensures a good seal AND stops the abrasive grounds from grinding down your important rubber seals.
And there you have it, you are ready to “pull your shot”. Goditi!