How-Tos

Tips and techniques for improving your espresso

The Home Barista's Guide to Espresso

This introduction by Jim Schulman shares his passion for good coffee and expertise in home espresso. It covers a lot of ground and demystifies the key elements of espresso preparation. It is not just about techniques and equipment, but also about the reasons behind them. More...

Newbie Introduction to Espresso [videos]

This series of videos was created specifically for those new to making espresso at home. Between these videos and the site's Recommended Reading outlined in the FAQs and Favorites Digest, practically every problem and every question you'll encounter in the first three months as a home barista are addressed. More...

Diagnosing Espresso Extraction Problems

Inspired by Chris Tacy's Training with the Naked Portafilter, this how-to takes a revealing look at what's happening beneath the business end of an espresso machine's bottomless portafilter. You will learn why a smart barista will intently watch the stream of espresso pour out during an extraction. While appearance alone isn't definitive proof of a good cup, it does go a long way in verifying the barista's technique. More...

Managing the Temperature of HX Espresso Machines

What is all this talk about "flushing" a heat exchanger (HX)? This how-to introduces the reasons behind the need to flush a heat exchanger espresso machine before starting the extraction and answers practical questions like: How much water do you need to flush? Is it necessary before each extraction, or only if the machine has been idle? After how long an interval is the machine considered "idle"? More...

Banish Uneven Extractions with the WDT

Many grinders inflict clumps, static, and uneven distribution upon the hapless home barista, keeping them from reaching their goal of extraordinary espresso. We can hope that these design flaws will eventually be addressed in home grinders. But until then, there is a simple, inexpensive solution to grinder problems: the Weiss Distribution Technique, or WDT. More...

Espresso Machine Cleaning - Why, How, and When

Cleaning isn't glamorous, but necessary! This article explains why cleaning must be a regular part of your barista duties, how to perform them with step-by-step instructions, and when these cleaning duties need to be performed. In doing so, you remove one impediment standing between you and great espresso. More...

Past How-Tos

The Professional Barista's Handbook
Making a beautiful "naked" triple espresso
An Aficionado's Guide to Espresso Blending
Understanding Espresso
Improving Your Espresso

Featured Articles

Quotable Quotes
Coffee: To Freeze or Not to Freeze?
The SCAA Sensory [Psych] Test
Making the "Naked" Portafilter
It's the Barista, Stupid