It takes an experienced barista or home-brewer to make good espresso and espresso based drinks. Who wants to make expresso has to have a solid idea of how these drinks should taste and how they should be presented (sizes, ratios, variations). And in addition he/she needs to be a virtuoso in conducting the beans and the equipment to a harmonious ensemble that produces a beautiful presentation and delicious taste.

If the barista or home-brewer grew up in Italy, the taste is formed and the knowledge of what is good coffee is intuitive. Such cultural background is an excellent guide when adjusting and using the equipment. The technicalities are easily learned with some training and a good amount of practice. For the rest of us, who lack the cultural background, it’s harder, but of course the knowledge just like the experience can be aquired; we can travel to Italy and/or make an effort to find good coffee wherever we live.


Practice is an important element of the barista’s or home brewer’s experience. It takes quite some time to reflect and a few pounds of coffee till we develop a feel for the grounds, an eye for the desired color-tone of the crema, or an appreciation for the right temperature and consistency of the milk foam. On this path we need to make many mistakes to become skillful. But sooner than later we will know how to adjust the grinder, regulate our tampering, and steam the milk. There will be sweet success more often than failure!

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