Espresso Making Books?


New member
Oct 6, 2003
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Hi there

I have just purchased a Francis!Francis! X1 and would like a book that gives purely hints and tips for making the best expresso's (latte's, long black, etc). Can anyone recommend a book that is visually helpful and without the whole coffee history etc?

Many thanks


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Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
Boca Raton
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The best way to learn about making drinks is learn the basics...then experiment!!

Espresso is to be served immediately to the customer, hence the name. Espresso comes from the Italian word for express. An espresso is made from 7 grams of finely ground coffee. The coffee is brewed by forcing water of 95 degrees through the packed espresso. The brew time should be between 25-30 seconds. The espresso should drip out of the port-a-filter like warm butter, have a creamy-brown color and a crema that makes up 10-30 % of the beverage.
Espresso brewing is defined by four points. correct grinding of a coffee blend, coffee blend, espresso machine, and the skilled hand of the barista

To brew a shot of espresso between the proper time of 25-30 seconds the amount of coffee, grind, and tamp have to be perfect!

The grind is easily adjusted and needs to be checked often. Every shot needs to be timed. If the shot comes out to quickly the grind needs to be adjusted finer. If the shot comes out to slow the coffee needs to be coarser.

Tamping is an art that is often neglected in espresso preparation. The coffee needs to be set up so the water will flow through it evenly. The water from the espresso machine is under pressure so the coffee needs to be hard and evenly tamped.

To get the proper amount of coffee dose the espresso into the port-a-filter. Two pulls on the lever should make it so the coffee is slightly over the rim of the filter. The barista then needs to take a flat object such as knife and level the coffee. The key is to evenly distribute the coffee without pressing into the grounds or leaving empty space on the sides of the basket.
Once you have distributed the coffee it is time to level the coffee with the tamp. Place the tamp on the coffee so it sits evenly applying about 5 pounds of pressure. The little bit of grounds will stick to the sides of the basket. Gently tap the basket with the tamp to knock the grounds on to the flat pellet you just formed.
Then next step is the finishing tamp. With 30 pounds of pressure push straight down on the espresso pellet. After you have applied the 30 pounds twist the tamp counter-clockwise for the "polishing"

Place the port-a-filter into the group head and start brewing immediately.

Steaming Milk Step 1: Start with a clean, cold pitcher and fill with milk one-third to one-half full. Do not fill the pitcher more than half full because the milk will rise during the steaming process. Always use whole milk unless otherwise requested. TIP : Mark pitcher handles so you can differentiate between nonfat, lowfat and wholemilk. A good method is to use electrical tape that matches the color of the milk carton. Step 2: Immerse the steam wand completely in the pitcher to prevent the milk from splashing everywhere. Turn the steam wand on. Step 3: Gradually lower the pitcher so the tip of the steam wand skims the top of the milk, creating a whirling action as the milk foams and begins to rise. You will hear a difference in pitch from a high hiss to a low growl. TIP : Do not bounce the steaming pitcher up and down to create foam. Step 4: Once the foam has risen to the top, you may raise the pitcher so that the steam wand is closer to the bottom of the milk pitcher. Turn off the steam wand when the thermometer reaches 155 degrees fareinheight to 160 degrees farenheight. It is okay if the thermometer drifts upward a few degrees after the steam wand has been turned off. Step 5:Remove the pitcher from the steam wand and immediately wipe the wand thoroughly with a clean, damp towel. Always use caution when handling the steam wands as they are VERY hot! Step 6: Point the steam wand towards the espresso machine and cover the tip with your towel. Briefly open and then close the steam knob to "bleed" or "purge" the wand clean. You must do this after every use to prevent milk buildup inside the wand. TIP : The longer the milk pitcher sits, the harder the foam on the top will become as it separates from the milk. Steaming Rules NEVER steam milk above the scalding point of 180 degrees Farenheight. If you should accidently steam milk above this point, THROW IT OUT and then thoroughly wash the pitcher with cold water. Milk may be resteamed once, but never refoamed. For example, you may take a pitcher of milk at 140 degrees Fareinhieght and submerge the steam wand until it reaches 160 degrees fareinheight , but you will be unable to make foam out of this milk. To make foam out of milk that has already been steamed you must add fresh cold milk to the pitcher first. For example, if you have a pitcher of milk that is 120 degrees farenheight and you need to make foam, you must first add fresh cold milk to the pitcher to get the temprature back to 100 degrees farenheight before making new foam. One of the most important steps in the milk steaming process is to use a CLEAN , damp towel to wipe off the steam wand. Never wipe up coffee grinds or countertops with the same towel you use to wipe the steam wands. If you do, coffee grinds will stick to the wand and eventually end up in a guest's drink. It is important to keep the steam wand towel separate from the other bar towels and to make sure everyone knows the proper use of the bar towels. If necessary, keep the steam wand towel on a saucer to keep it clean. When pouring milk, especially for Café Lattes and Café au Laits, use your spoon as a "dam" to hold back the milk foam. The faster you pour the milk, the less foam will go around the spoon. Always rotate the milk in the refrigerator, using the oldest date first.

Good Luck!


New member
Jan 17, 2004
Redmond, WA
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Hi Emma,

I don't know of any books that would best help on your X1 machine specifically. I own an X1 and I'm pretty happy with it.

But many home-class machines are different. The X1 is the 3rd machine I've owned and it doesn't work like the other two I owned. So for an independently written book on the X1 you may be out of luck.

If you didn't get a thorough manual with your machine, that gives the proper hints for using your machine, call Francis-Francis directly (they have a distribute on the US east coast) and get one.

Like Topher says, it's a bit of experimenting. But be sure to read the manual and follow it otherwise you can damage the X1 as I did. For about 6 weeks I would turn off the machine immediate after steaming the milk. This would cause the boiler to be very hot with not much water in it and it burned out the heating element. One hint: always cool the boiler back to coffee brew temperature (about 100 degrees C) by running water through an empty portafilter.

If you like, you can review a web page I made that shows step-by-step what I do. Got to to see.



New member
Jan 30, 2004
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Barista CD

Have you tried the Barista CD from sure if its available from other regions.
Runs through a whole bunch of "classes", which include history etc, but the great thing is the video clips that show how your espresso should look when coming out of the machine etc.