Woman steaming milk with an espresso machine

HOW TO MAKE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ESPRESSO DRINKS USING AN ESPRESSO MACHINE

An espresso machine is a great way to bring the cafe to your kitchen. But how do you brew like a barista? Once you’ve mastered a simple espresso, you can start creating lattes, cappuccinos, mochas and Americanos with just a couple extra steps. With these basic espresso drinks in your repertoire, a new world of home coffee brewing is open to you. Plus, espresso can enhance a variety of dishes from desserts to marinades. Read this article on how to make different types of espresso drinks and enjoy the journey of developing your skills.

Espresso Drink Ratio Chart
Cappuccino under espresso maker with croissants

WHAT IS ESPRESSO?

Espresso is a rich, concentrated coffee drink. A shot of espresso is different from an “ordinary” cup of coffee mainly in the way it’s prepared. The beans are ground very fine and packed tight, then pressurized water is pulled through them to create a small serving of full-bodied, flavorful coffee.

When it comes to the beans themselves, an espresso bean is simply a type of coffee bean that is roasted longer and darker. The espresso roasting method brings out oils in the bean that work well with a fine espresso grind. Together they create the thick consistency and well-rounded flavor that makes drinking espresso a pleasurable experience on its own or in a variety of other delicious drinks.

Person tamping espresso in the portafilter

DIFFERENT DRINKS TO MAKE WITH An ESPRESSO MACHINE

While a simple shot of espresso is hard to beat, it can also be used as the base for other classic coffee drinks. You can even use espresso in food such as desserts like a chocolate espresso torte. Other brewed beverages like tea can also be prepared with an espresso machine. Use our step-by-step instructions to make your favorite brews at home and discover some new favorites along the way.

There is a wide variety of espresso machines out there, but most should provide the tools you need to make these basic espresso drinks. Some models help you prepare cafe-quality drink with ease like the  KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine with Automatic Milk Frother Attachment.

Cup with espresso in it

HOW TO MAKE ESPRESSO WITH A MACHINE

The exact steps to take when brewing up an espresso will depend greatly on the type of espresso machine you have. Espresso machines range from fully manual to super automatic models. Depending on your model, some of these basic steps will be taken care of for you and some you’ll do yourself to create a truly customized cup.

Step 1: Grind the beans
A fine grind is essential for espresso. Unlike other types of brewing methods, the water in an espresso machine travels through the grounds for only a short time, and a fine grind enables maximum flavor extraction. Try starting with a grind that’s somewhere between powdery and sandy, then adjust according to your preferences. Some coffee grinders have expansive grind size options like the KitchenAid® Burr Coffee Grinder which offers 70 precise settings to help with optimal extraction for a range of brewing methods.

Step 2: Pack the portafilter
The portafilter is the spoon-like device with a handle that sticks out of the machine. Remove it and fill the basket in the portafilter fully with grounds. The amount of grounds you use will depend on the size of the basket. Some models come with  a single and double shot basket, like the KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine.

Set the portafilter on a flat surface and pack down the grounds with a tamper until it forms an even, tight puck. It's important to create a level bed of coffee grounds to prevent water from channeling and over or under extracting flavor from the grounds. The KitchenAid® Commercial-Grade Portafilter is designed with 2 recessed spouts to enable a flat base for easier, more stable tamping vs. traditional residential espresso portafilters.

Step 3: Pull the shot
You may need to run the espresso machine once without the portafilter to clear the nozzle. Then lock the portafilter in place and put your cup below. Start the machine. A typical shot might take around 20 to 30 seconds to brew. Some espresso machines will have preset times while some will require you to set the time yourself or stop the brew manually. 

Cup with some espresso, a lot of milk and a little foam in it

HOW TO MAKE A LATTE

ESPRESSO + STEAMED MILK + FOAM 

Lattes are the milkiest of all the espresso drinks and always a silky, satisfying option. The ingredient ratio varies, but is typically 1/3 espresso and 2/3 milk, plus a little foam to top it off.

Step 1: Pull the espresso
Heat your cup in a cup warmer if your machine has one so the coffee doesn’t go cold while you steam the milk. Pull one or two shots of espresso (see step-by-step instructions in the Espresso tab). If you want to add any flavor syrup, do this now. 

Step 2: Steam the milk
The steam wand typically sticks out of the side of the machine and has at least one 90° curve. Quickly turn on the steam wand to clear any water out of it. Pour the milk into the milk pitcher to a third of its capacity. Place the steam wand into the milk at an angle, with the tip just below the surface of the milk. Turn it on. You’re doing it right if you hear a light hiss rather than a deep gurgle.

Step 3: Pour the milk
Stop steaming when the milk reaches a silky consistency with only a small amount of foam on top. The temperature should typically be around 150° F. Pour the milk slowly into the espresso to ensure the foam on top doesn’t mix with the milk. Hold it back with a spoon if possible. Then scoop the foam onto the very top of the latte.

Cup with equal parts espresso, milk and foam in it

HOW TO MAKE A CAPPUCCINO

ESPRESSO + STEAMED MILK + FOAM

A cappuccino is made with the same ingredients as a latte but in different ratios: it uses equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foam. This results in a lighter, foamier drink with a stronger coffee flavor. 

Step 1: Pull the espresso
Heat your cup in a cup warmer if your machine has one so the coffee doesn’t go hold while you steam the milk. Pull one or two shots of espresso (see step-by-step instructions in the Espresso tab).

Step 2: Steam the milk
Quickly turn on the steam wand to clear any water out of it. Pour milk into the milk pitcher to a third of its capacity. Place the steam wand into the milk at an angle, with the tip just below the surface of the milk. Turn it on. You’re doing it right if you hear a light hiss rather than a deep gurgle.

Step 3: Pour the milk
Stop steaming when the milk has doubled in size and is about half foam. The temperature should typically be around 150° F. Pour the milk slowly into the espresso to ensure the foam on top doesn’t mix with the milk. Hold it back with a spoon if possible. Then scoop the foam onto the very top of the latte.

Cup with espresso, chocolate, milk and foam in it

HOW TO MAKE A MOCHA

ESPRESSO + CHOCOLATE + STEAMED MILK + FOAM

A mocha is essentially a latte with chocolate in it. You’ll add chocolate directly to the espresso and plenty of milk to create a smooth, sweet coffee drink.

Step 1: Pull the espresso
Heat your cup in a cup warmer if your machine has one so the coffee doesn’t go hold while you steam the milk. Pull one or two shots of espresso (see step-by-step instructions in the Espresso tab).

Step 2: Add the chocolate
While the espresso is hot, add chocolate syrup, drinking chocolate, melted chocolate chips or cocoa powder to it and stir until smooth.

Step 3: Steam the milk
Quickly turn on the steam wand to clear any water out of it. Pour milk into the milk pitcher. Place the steam wand into the milk at an angle, with the tip just below the surface of the milk. Turn it on. You’re doing it right if you hear a light hiss rather than a deep gurgle.

Step 4: Pour the milk
Stop steaming when the milk reaches a silky consistency with only a small amount of foam on top. The temperature should typically be around 150° F. Pour the milk slowly into the espresso to ensure the foam on top doesn’t mix with the milk. Hold it back with a spoon if possible. Then scoop the foam onto the very top of the latte.

Cup with espresso and water in it

HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICANO

ESPRESSO + HOT WATER

An Americano is a nice option if you want the bold, complex flavor of espresso but the volume of a drip coffee. It also doesn't require a steam wand if your espresso machine doesn’t have one. 

Step 1: Heat the water
Start bringing a pot of water to a boil. Many Americanos consist of about 2 or 3 parts water and 1 part espresso, but it’s a matter of personal preference. Make the espresso while the water is heating. 

Step 2: Pull the espresso and pour
Pull one, two or even three shots of espresso ( step-by-step instructions on slide 1). Many Americanos are made with two shots. Add the water to the espresso and you’re done.

A cup with tea in it

HOW TO MAKE TEA WITH AN ESPRESSO MACHINE

The potential of an espresso machine isn’t limited to coffee. Tea drinkers can also find plenty of possibilities in this versatile appliance, such as a simple brewed tea or a tea latte. For a more traditional tea-brewing experience, browse the line of KitchenAid® electric kettles

Step 1: Heat the water
The Steam Wand on some models can also dispense hot water which is great for tea, hot chocolate or an americano. Select the hot water option and place your cup under the steam wand. Select the amount of water you desire.

Step 2: Brew the tea
Steep tea in the hot water as you typically would. You can use a tea bag or loose leaf tea in an infuser or strainer. Consult the tea’s container for how long to steep it for balanced flavor.

Step 3: Turn it into a tea latte if desired
Pour milk into the milk pitcher to a third of its capacity and place the steam wand tip just below the surface of the milk. Turn it on. Steam the milk until it has a silky consistency and a small amount of foam on top. Pour it into the tea cup slowly, holding the foam back with a spoon to be scooped onto the top.

A couple lattes near an espresso machine

Explore the KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

KitchenAid has studied with top baristas to ensure that our collection of coffee products will help you brew exceptional coffee at home. Enjoy espressos, lattes and cappuccinos just the way you like with the KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine with Automatic Milk Frother Attachment. This is the first residential espresso machine that features two smart temperature sensors to help maintain optimal brewing temperature, shot after shot. 

 

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