There are hundreds of ways to create an espresso drink, and it all comes down to personal preference (or preference of the customer). If you’re a newbie to the world of being a barista or want to become a barista eventually, you should learn how to make the most basic recipe that you’ll be dealing with regularly.
Your Brewing Variables
Water – You’ll want to try and make your water as “soft” as possible. In doing so, you’ll reduce or eliminate the number of minerals, sediment, etc., in your water. Incorporating soft water will make the espresso taste that much better.
Coffee grinds – The coffee grinds of your choosing are the second most important ingredient in the espresso. You’ll need to have finely ground coffee, as espresso requires this in commercial machines. The particles of the ground coffee will be roughly the size of table salt, not pre-ground salt. When the coffee grinds begin to clump together, you’re on the right track. As you become more comfortable with being a barista, you’ll learn different ways to achieve a better grind consistency.
Dose – The grams of ground coffee per standard serving size are important. Double shots require at least 18 grams of ground coffee. The intensity of the espresso shot will rise as you add more than this. For sleepyheads who want a kick, you may want to try around 21 grams per double shot.
Temperature – The optimal temperature for preparing coffee and espresso products is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Time – Depending on how automatic your machine is (i.e., semi-automatic or completely manual), you should time the preparation and final product for around 25-30 seconds.
The Most Popular Drinks
Now that you know how to make an espresso drink, you’re ready to head to your new job as the local coffee shop barista. You’ll meet hundreds of people within the first month, and you’ll become acquainted with quite a few espresso drinks. Here are a few of the most popular, so you don’t look like a deer in headlights during your first week. Let us preface this by stating you can practice these all at home without commercial tools. Examples of flavors and espresso drinks include:
- Coconut Latte
- Café Noisette
- Café Crème
- Café Con Leche
- Café Cubano
- Dead Eye
- Irish Coffee
- Long Shot & more
Cappuccino – Take your demitasse and make sure it’s warm before brewing your espresso shots – this is a step that can be done before a cappuccino, coffee drink, caffe latte, and more. Then, you want to steam and froth the milk at a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Try not to go above this as you may burn the milk. After letting the milk rest, your foam will begin rising while the milk settles at the bottom. This ensures that your layering will be done properly. Pour the milk in for the first 1/3 of the cup, and then begin adding your espresso and spooning the foam in the rest of the cup. Doing this will give a nice layered drink.
*Optional* – Flavored syrups are popular, but not mandatory in the creation of a cappuccino. If you are adding a type of flavor, you should add it into the espresso shot and stir well so that it dissolves accordingly.
Latte (Also known as caffe latte) – Follow the first step like you were creating cappuccino by warming the milk. After you do this, you’ll want to pour the warm milk into your espresso. Following this step, you want to pour this espresso mixture into a shallow coffee cup. Using a spoon to hold back the foam, you’ll need to pour in as much warmed milk as you can without letting the foam in. Finally, you can add the foam on top. When you do this properly, you can layer it perfectly.
Once you’re more settled into the world of being a barista and trying new ingredients, you’ll learn your trademark whether it be non-fat, half-caf, no whip or extra shot mocha. Learning the basics of crafting plus your comfortability levels will allow you to whip up new blends and flavors for customers.