How Espresso Machines Work And What They Do

March 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles

An espresso machine is a specialized piece of equipment that is designed to brew a specialty coffee. This beverage is a drink that got its origin in Italy and has become a very popular drink in other countries as well. This drink is actually a shot of coffee rather than a cup of coffee. The difference in espresso and other coffee is the way that it is brewed. Understanding how espresso machines work and what they do will help you get a better understanding of espresso, and other coffee drinks.

Espresso machines can come in many different styles and sizes. The machine s that are found in a coffee shop work under the same principles as the models intended for residential use but they are often much more ornate and much larger. Regardless of the type of espresso machine they basically work the same.

The espresso machine actually is the last step in the brewing process, so understanding how espresso machines work will only reveal part of the process of making espresso. The process begins by grinding with a specialty grinder coffee beans. The grind is extremely fine and is placed in the individual coffee filter. This filter is much different than standard coffee filters, it is actually a small metal cup that is made typically out of stainless steel and is made to fit exactly enough grounds for one shot of espresso.

The grounds are dispensed from the grinder into the metal cup that holds the grinds and then a small metal device known as a tamper is used to compact the grounds tightly into the cup. The cup is then attached it the machine and the grounds are ready to be brewed into a shot of espresso. The way that the grounds are tampered is extremely important to creating a good quality espresso.

The coffee machine that is used to brew the coffee grounds requires water to make the espresso. In commercial applications the machine is typically attached to the main water line, but in residential applications it is usually poured into the machine for each brewing. Regardless of how the water enters the machine it is held just below the boiling point of water which is 212 degrees.

When the metal cup or basket has been attached to the machine then it will be locked into place to assure a tight connection. The hot water is then dispensed slowly through the cup and into a spout that pours the finished product out of the machine. This hot water typically takes about 20 to 30 seconds to flow through the cup. The way the grounds have been tampered will determine the flow of the water. If it is too loose then you will end up with mud but if it is to tight then you will end up with a very slow trickle of a tar like substance.

... And that's how espresso machines work!

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