Want to make better espresso or cappuccino than you currently do? Consider a tip or two from a couple of pros: award-winning baristas Jeremy Ho and Josh Hockin.
1. "Clean your machine every time," says Hockin, director of coffee at Transcend Coffee in Edmonton, Canada. "If it doesn't work, it's almost always you. Not the coffee. Not the grinder."
2. Tamp, or press, your grinds into the portafilter basket firmly and evenly...but don't pound them in. "If you have a basket that's jam-packed, you might not get enough water through it," says Hockin. Under-extracted coffee can be harsh and acidic.
3. "Be as consistent as possible," says Ho, co-owner of Monogram Coffee in Calgary. "And measure your coffee, and your coffee-water ratio." Every time you change something — beans, milk, water, even the temperature of your machine — you change your coffee's flavour profile. That may be good...or bad.
(A variation of this story appeared in City Palate magazine.)