Don’t just rely on the coffee maker to do all the work. Making a good cup of espresso is an art.

  • Water Flow – In making an espresso, make sure that the water flows through the coffee filter at the correct rate. If it’s too slow, the coffee will be over-extracted – too dark and bitter, with a mottled and uneven crema on top. If it flows too quickly, the coffee will be under-extracted – the proper flavor won’t have time to develop and the coffee will appear and taste watered down. The easiest way to adjust the water flow is with tamping pressure, pressing down a bit lighter will allow for more room between the grounds so that water can flow a bit more easily or tamping down a bit more firmly will offer enough resistance that the water picks up the oils and flavor of the grounds.
  • The Coffee – It is recommended that the beans are ground just before the extraction is pulled. Ground coffee can keep it’s flavor for a long time if stored in an air tight container. However, to make sure that the optimal amount of oils are released, freshly ground is best.
  • The Grind – If using pre-ground coffee, ensure it is purchased as an espresso grind for espresso or cappuccino machines. If grinding your own beans, the coffee needs to be not too fine and not too coarse. This can take a little practice and is also subject to preference and taste. Be prepared to use up a little coffee in getting the grind just right.

Another important aspect is frothing the milk.

  • Frothing Attachment – The Café Modena comes with a Frothing Attachment to aid in getting rich, thick froth in the milk. This, however, is not a requirement to steam milk. If less thick froth, more of a silky milk texture, is preferred, simply remove the Frothing Attachment.
  • Frothing Jug – Fill the stainless steel frothing jug about 1/3 full of cold milk. This should be just under the beginning of the spout. It’s important to keep the milk level seemingly low as the steam will add quite a bit of volume to the milk while heating it.
  • Aiming the Steam – Hold the frothing jug at an angle so that the Frothing Attachment or Steam Want tip is just at or just below the surface of the milk and to one side of the jug. The milk will begin swirling and shortly the volume will begin to increase.
  • Timing is Everything – The time to get the froth into the milk is while it is still cold. This is why steaming starts off with the steam wand at the surface, or just beneath the surface, of the milk.
  • Bubbles – If the milk ends up with larger bubbles then intended in it, tap the stainless steel frothing jug on the counter gently to remove the larger bubbles.