How to Use an Espresso Machine (With Detailed Instructions)

Making great espresso depends on having a good machine and knowing how to use it. This segment will teach you what you need to know for the best results.

You can get a good unit for a reasonable cost and we’ll make recommendations. Instructions are included to help you to get the most from your machine.

Follow the steps provided to enjoy espresso that you will be happy to drink and proud to serve guests.

Recommended: Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker

This model comes highly recommended by users who give it a 5 out of 5 ratings. While there are several excellent machines available, this unit has received the highest marks.

We recommend it because it is the best espresso machine under $100 according to customer reviews.

SEE ALSO: How to Use Delonghi Espresso Machine

Become familiar with your espresso machine

Read through the user’s manual that came with your espresso maker. The information is provided directly from the manufacturer.

This will provide a diagram of the working parts and their names. It will also give you tips on how to safely and correctly operate the machine.

Start by using the best water

Choose dematerialized pure water for the best flavor. The reason for this is that mineral deposits can alter the flavor of your coffee.

You can also use a filter to purify tap water. Inexpensive filters are available at most hardware stores. Fill the reservoir.

Adjust water temperature setting if applicable

Some espresso machines have water temperature control settings. The preferred range for espresso is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

If yours has this option, set the water temperature to this setting. As you become accustomed to using your new machine you can experiment.

Hotter water temperatures produce a more roasted flavor while lower ones give the espresso a brighter flavor. Machines without adjustable water temperature do the work for you.

Heat the water

Fill the water reservoir and turn on the espresso machine. It can take anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes, depending on the type of espresso machine and the size of the reservoir.

Preheating the water prepares the machine for delivering espresso more quickly and on-demand.

SEE ALSO: How to Use Stovetop Espresso Maker

Prepare the coffee grounds

Purchase whole coffee beans for fresh and aromatic espresso. Grind them to the consistency of table salt. You may also use pre-ground espresso blend if you like.

For the standard “double shot” serving, measure out 18-21 grams of grounds. Adding more grounds increases intensity and body. Adjust the dose to suit your tastes.

Add coffee grounds to the portafilter

This is the handle, brew basket, and spigot which attaches to your espresso machine. Tamp the grounds with your fingers and press down hard to get even compaction.

This will make the water interact evenly with the grounds for a smooth brew. Secure portafilter to the group head.

SEE ALSO: How to Use Breville Espresso Machine

Fast and simple alternative

The alternative to grinding beans or measuring out espresso grounds is to use pods. Pods come in a variety of blends, grinds, and flavors.

They consist of pre-ground and pre-measured coffee. While this adds convenience, it is harder to adjust to get the precise flavor that you may prefer.

Pre-infusion and infusion

Begin the infusion process. Some machines offer a pre-infusion step that allows gases to escape prior to extraction. If yours does, allow this process to complete.

We recommend starting with two fluid ounces of espresso per shot. Make the adjustments accordingly if you are using a machine that makes double shots at the same time.

Prior to serving

Before serving the fresh espresso, mix the crema. This is done by stirring it or pouring espresso into a separate cup.

Taste the first few attempts to determine if you’ve achieved the perfect espresso to suit your preferences.

Sampling the first attempts before serving to guests in case changes are needed.

Keep the espresso machine clean

When finished, discard the leftover grounds and leave the portafilter clean and dry. Leaving grounds or moisture in the brewing basket is not recommended.

Potentially harmful bacteria may develop and it could cause illness. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for thoroughly cleaning your espresso machine periodically.


A new espresso maker can save time and money because you can make your own beverages at home whenever you desire. Great home-brewed espresso begins with knowing how to use your espresso machine.

First master the basics of espresso making for the confidence to strike out and diversify your experiences.

Everyone has their own personal tastes and preferences so it’s nice to have the ability to perfect your skills until you’re satisfied with the results.

Once you have the basic knowledge you can experiment and make your own amazing creations Become familiar with your machine, experiment with the grind and dosage and you’ll find the perfect recipe to make your favorite espresso beverages.

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