Pulling a good shot


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Oct 8, 2007
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What exactly goes into pulling a perfect shot of Espresso? What would I have to do to pull it? Does the crema have to be thick, and the right light brown color?

Any advice will be helpful. I work for a coffee shop...and I want to perfect my shot making skills, and my steaming milk skills.

With steaming milk, how do I steam the milk so micro foam will form? Should the temperature be higher or lower then normal?

on pulling you mean extracting...
firstly, make sure you do some real good tamping. if your grinds arent pressed into the portafiller correctly, the water will seap through the grinds too quicly, resulting in weak espresso and not the right amount of creme. then, your extraction shouldnt be too long (i have a 2group rancilio m6) and i limit my extractions to between 22 and 26 seconds. you mentioned that you work in a coffee shop, so make sure your grinder is set to the right grind for espresso. when tamped and extraced properly, you should end up with a thick, golden coloured crema and a pure/aromatic extration.
as for the steaming, make sure your milk and pitcher is always cold when you start, also, dont fill it too much as the milk will boil over. then, before opening your steam wond, start by putting the wond as deep as possible into the milk and then open up. by moving your pitcher up and down, you will hear the different noises you get from it (ranging from a funny screatching noise to a rumbling noise). for micro foam you want a low pitched hissing sound. make sure that your milk never exceeds 60degrees celcius.

if my tips dont work for you, there are a number of www you can check out on latte art and milk steaming.

let me know if it works :wink:
Answering that is like pulling teeth. LOL...... You have to have a decent machine that's clean, filled with fresh water and is up to temperature. Your grinder must be dialed in. You have to grind, dose, distribute and tamp properly. I never time my shots, only going by color, texture and pour pattern as my indicators.

I don't believe in moving the pitcher up/down and all around like some do. I chill my pitcher, pour in the milk and return it to the freezer until an ice ring forms around the top of the milk. Then I bleed the steam wand of any moisture. Then I tilt the pitcher until my steam starts swirling the milk around like a whirlpool. If I want more air incorporated for a thicker froth, I simply keep the tip closer to the surface. I continue until the milk is 150 degrees and then stop. Later!
Freshness, grind, water, tamping (incline and pressure), pressure, portafilter quality, type of beans used, machine quality, etc etc etc'

Honestly it would be hard to figure out how to really pull a good shot with words, but just make sure your grinds right, and your tamping correctly. Those are probably going to be the most common mistakes with pulling shots. Make sure you tamping dead even, if your tamping at even a slight angle it can screw up your shot.