How To Use An Espresso Machine [Step by Step Guide With Details]

Pulling an excellent shot of espresso is not as easy as judging its taste. You need to have the required skills to use espresso machines properly. With the combination of your skill and a good quality machine, you can brew fantastic cups of espresso.

Therefore, in today’s guide, we are going to share some steps on how to use an espresso machine effortlessly. We will also cover some crucial points like using different good espresso makers, modern features of the espresso makers, choosing the right grinder for espresso, and many more.

So, without wasting any time. Let’s get started.

Espresso Machine: A Brief Overview

Basically, espresso makers are the machines that brew espresso by forcing pressurized hot water through finely grounded coffee. And that way, we can get a thick and concentrated liquid that is widely called Espresso.

The first Espresso machine was founded by Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy, in 1884. Since then, design and functionality have improved from time to time. In 1905 selling Espresso machines was started commercially on a small scale in Milan, Italy.

Nowadays, you can find a bunch of different types of good espresso machines in supermarkets. Each of them has its own functionality in producing delicious and flavorful Espresso. Now, let’s take a look at them.

Types of Espresso Machines

In general, espresso-making machines have four different types pump-driven, steam-driven, lever-driven, or air-pump-driven. From them, pump-driven machines are the most commonly used type. The reason is that they are easy to use, inexpensive, and able to deliver excellent brewing output.

Hence, some folks refer to a pump-driven espresso machine as the best machine type for making espresso. You can divide pump-driven machines into three more types semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic.

With a semi-automatic espresso machine, you have to tamp the ground coffee, control the extraction time, and froth milk on your own. While using an automatic espresso machine, you don’t need to turn the machine off manually. It turns off automatically after you finish brewing. Delonghi Ec702 is a great example of that.

On the other hand, Super-Automatic machines are entirely different from the previous two types. It’s like a barista who is entirely responsible for everything you need to do in order to get the desired cup of espresso. From grinding coffee to tamping, setting the portafilter, pulling shots, and frothing milk, it’s like an allrounder. Some of them are – Breville Barista Express and Jura A1.

How to Use An Espresso Machine [ Step By Step Guide ]

Before intending to make a perfect cup of espresso, it’s crucial to learn how to use espresso machines. Without the needed skill, the output may not be enjoyable, and the espresso may taste bitter or sour. For this reason, in this section of the guide, we will learn how to use an espresso machine properly in order to get delicious cups of espresso.

Step 1: Fill The Water Tank

First off, fill the water tank with clean water. Nowadays, most espresso makers have a labeled water tank, which helps to get a clear concept of the required water for single or double shots. You may also find a water level indicator that will let you check the available water level accurately.

Step 2: Preheat The Machine

It’s important to preheat the espresso machine for at least 15 minutes before brewing. That way, the cup of espresso you will get after brewing will be excellent to drink. Most coffee connoisseurs do this preheating phase by pulling a blank shot.

At that time, hot water makes a precise environment for brewing espresso by letting the machine warm. Make sure the cup is placed right under the portafilter as well.

Step 3: Grind The Coffee Beans

When you are going to make espresso, it’s crucial to make sure the grind is fine enough. We have a detailed guide about how to use a coffee grinder, be sure to read that. Nowadays, you can see some of the home espresso makers that come with a built-in coffee grinder (De’Longhi La Specialista is a great example, also has a stainless steel body).

So, you have your espresso grounds. Now it’s time to set up the portafilter. But before that, detach it from the machine and clean it properly. Place the right basket in the portafilter according to the size of your espresso shot.

Caution: Make sure to use the right basket for the single or double-shot espresso; otherwise, the espresso may not turn out.

Step 4: Fill The Portafilter With Finely Ground Coffee

Fill the portafilter with finely ground coffee. Grinding coffee beans right before brewing delivers a superior taste to espresso. The standard amount for a single shot is 6-8 grams, while around 15 grams for a double shot of espresso.

Step 5: Tamp The Ground Coffee

You have placed the right amount of coffee grounds. It’s time to tamp them evenly by pushing them downwards. This ensures delivering a strong-tasting shot of espresso. You can use a regular tamper to get good results.

However, some of the machines available in the market come with a built-in tamper. After pushing enough downward pressure, give a quick spin with the tamper so that the top of the coffee puck can be polished.

Step 6: Pull The Shot

We have done pretty much all the tasks accurately. It’s time to pull the shot. First off, re-attach the portafilter basket, and hopefully, you have found the green light indicator is ON for starting the process. Press the button to start the brewing.

Now, you may ask, “How long it takes to extract?”. Well, ideally, a 25-30-second time range is pretty enough for brewing espresso. Be extra cautious while pulling a shot. More or less time than this may deliver a bitter or sour cup of espresso that you don’t expect.

If you follow these six steps while brewing, you should get a perfect espresso cup at your own home using your best home espresso machine. You can get some more instructions from the user manual if you use any automatic or super-automatic machine. However, most homemakers feel comfortable with semi-automatic machines.

Important: When you try to make beautiful art in your latte and others, you need steamed milk. Steaming milk is a quite simple procedure. You can easily steam milk with the steam wand of your machine. A stem wand is a small solid pipe, usually made with metal. Set the steam wand in your milk pitcher.

Your steam wand should have a 15° angle from the side and the tip should be level with the surface of the milk. When you start steaming milk in the pitcher, it will start creating foams. When the milk level increases, drop the steam wand deep into the pitcher. Now, that you have your steamed milk to create your art; please keep in mind that you can’t use cold milk for steaming. 

Using Different Espresso Makers

In this segment, we will learn how to operate some of the commonly used high-quality espresso makers you can find in the market. Hope this will be a great help to you. Let’s get started.

How To Use Breville Espresso Machine

We are using Breville Barista Express for this guide. First off, make sure the water tank is filled with the needed amount of water. Now, start the machine for preheating. If you find that any of the six lights are blinking, you have to wait to warm it up. The water level should be between the max and min points.

Add some more water to the tank if needed. You can pop the lid and add water easily. If you want to grind the coffee bean, first adjust the grind size setting. You will find an adjusting gear on the left side of the machine. So, adjust the size according to your needs. Nine works pretty well for me. To start the grinding, just press the portafilter.

After getting the finely grounded espresso grounds, tamp them with about 20 pounds of pressure. Knock off all the excess entirely. Now place the portafilter under the group head. Place a cup under the portafilter as well.

Press the single shot or double shot button according to your espresso size. Around 25 – 30 seconds should deliver a great cup of espresso with a Breville Barista Express. Enjoy!

How To Use De’Longhi Espresso Machine

For this guide, we are considering Delonghi Dedica. So, the first thing you need to do is fill the water tank. Then pull a blank shot in order to create a warm environment for espresso brewing. While doing a blank shot, make sure the portafilter is activated and the cups are underneath it.

You have to make everything warm to get a better taste. After the blank shot, detach the portafilter and give a good wipe. Use the right basket according to your desired espresso size.

Tamp the coffee grounds evenly and then place the portafilter underneath the group head. Place the cup as well right after re-attaching the portafilter. Give a 22-26-second time range for perfect brewing, and that way, you should get your desired cup of espresso with a Delonghi Espresso Machine.

How To Use Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine

Let’s take a look at how to use Mr. Coffee Steam Espresso & Cappuccino Maker. This is a budget option and does a good job of making Espresso.

For using this machine, place the desired amount of espresso grounds in the basket and put it in the portafilter. Lock the portafilter with the group head precisely. Keep in mind tamping before placing it under the group head. You can use the scoop for tamping, but we recommend using a regular tamper to get an evenly tamped coffee.

Place the small pitcher under the portafilter (which comes with the machine). Fill the water tank with clean water, which is located at the top of the machine. Closed the tank’s cap securely, and you are ready to go. Start brewing by turning the ‘brew steam selector’ available on left the side. It would take 4-5 minutes to get the small pitcher filled. The output is not too great, but it will give you a drinkable cup of espresso at this price point.

You can froth the milk as well with a built-in frother by turning the selector. And that’s pretty much everything you need to use a Mr. Coffee espresso machine.

How to Use a Lever Espresso Machine?

You can follow these steps one by one for using a lever espresso machine:

  1. Fill 3/4 of the water tank with normal cold water.
  2. Turn on your machine and steam wand valve.
  3. Then grind your coffee beans finely and put them into a clean and dry portafilter.
  4. Set the portafilter into the espresso machine and place a cup under it.
  5. Pull the lever up. When it reaches the top, hold it for a few seconds. Now put down the lever smoothly.
  6. Meanwhile, you can notice the extraction and get a light brown espresso coffee in your cup. Enjoy your cup of coffee.

How Do Espresso Machines Work?

There are a bunch of espresso-making machines available at the market for brewing the perfect cups of espresso. But do you know how does an espresso machine work? 

In a nutshell, an espresso machine forces boiling point water through fine espresso grounds. As a result, you will find a thicker and more concentrated coffee widely called Espresso.

An electric pump produces the pressure which is needed to flow the hot water through the portafilter. The boiler handles heating the hot water for brewing espresso. This nearly boiling water passes through the fine coffee grounds and ends in a great cup of espresso.

It is important to keep the parts of your machine neat and clean. You can’t pull a shot like a clean machine from a dirty machine. Especially take care of your filter basket, steam wand, and grinder.

Modern and Smart Features

As we said earlier, you will find lots of cool features from an automatic and super-automatic espresso maker. That’s why some folks used to call this type of espresso maker a barista.

For example, you can connect your smartphone with Jura D6 and command from it. That’s a really cool feature to have also an affordable price. Jura S8 also has this feature.

Some super-automatic espresso machine features cutting-edge internal components. As a result, they can grind the beans, tamp, brew, and even dump the coffee into a dump drawer.

There’s no need to talk about the output of a super-automatic espresso machine. In short, if you want to enjoy every single cup of espresso, a super-automatic machine could be the best option to go for.

However, some semi-automatic and automatic machines are also available that also come with some cool features like self-priming or turning the machine off automatically after a certain amount of time. Super-automatic machines come with a bunch of smart features. That makes them unique from a semi-automatic or automatic machine. Touchscreen displays, Bluetooth connectivity, and saving user preferences are some of them. 

We have reviewed some automatic espresso makers. You can have a look at our review of – Jura E6, and Jura E8.


How do I turn on an espresso machine?

Plug in your espresso machine and switch it on. Allow it to preheat until it reaches the desired brewing temperature.

How much coffee grounds do I use for a shot of espresso?

A standard shot of espresso requires about 7-9 grams of finely ground coffee.

How do I pull a shot of espresso?

Place the portafilter filled with fresh coffee ground into the machine’s group head. Start the shot, and it should run for about 25-30 seconds for a 1-ounce (30 ml) shot. Adjust grind size and tamping pressure for desired extraction time.

How do I froth milk with the espresso machine?

Pour cold milk into a frothing pitcher. Position the steam wand just below the milk’s surface and turn on the steam. Froth until the milk doubles in volume and reaches the desired texture.

How do I clean the espresso machine?

Regularly remove and clean the drip tray, coffee grounds container, and water reservoir. Backflush the machine with a cleaning detergent to remove coffee oils and residue. Rinse and wipe down the steam wand and group head after each use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before descaling to prevent mineral buildup.


Hope you have got your answer on how to use an espresso machine. We have tried to keep the whole guide simple so that everyone can understand and implement it efficiently.

If you have any thoughts regarding this complete guide, feel free to leave them in the comment section below we would love to hear from you. Also, make sure to share it with your friends and family and let them know.

Happy Brewing!

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1 thought on “How To Use An Espresso Machine [Step by Step Guide With Details]”

  1. How great that you talk about how there are four types of espresso machines. I am starting a new coffee business this year. I will find a good commercial espresso machine to assist in this.

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