Knowledge Base:  
Setting up your espresso coffee machine for first use.
Last Updated: 22/12/2019

Setting up your espresso coffee machine for first use.

If you need to set up your new machine yourself here is some tips which may help you.

First let’s take a quick look at the recipe.

14 grm of coffee tamped at 12kg pressure and extracted for 25 seconds at 9 bar of pressure.

This is the basic recipe but nothing is cast in stone, you could extract at a lower pressure, tamp at a lower pressure and use a different amount of coffee, these variables will give a different extracted flavour combination.

The basic recipe is of course a good starting point and has been around since the inception of espresso so we recommend that you use this recipe until you want to or have time to experiment.

One issue never mentioned with espresso coffee machines is the water spout, if you take a look at our guide boiler contamination for an explanation but simply it’s not fresh water so can taint the coffee or tea taste.


▪ The grind

▪ The amount of liquid

▪ The time to extract

▪ The grinder doser dispensed amount.

You will need a base line to start from and this is the amount of coffee extracted, however before you can set this you need to roughly set your grinder, so how?

▪ First grind a little coffee until the shoot in the doser from the grinding blades is full. An indication that the grind is somewhere near correct is how the ground coffee is expelled from the shoot, it should break off and crumble as it leaves the shoot. It’s not important to get it perfect as it will be adjusted later. If it just falls out of the shoot it needs to be finer. If when you test this first grind its very slow then back off the adjustment only a couple of clicks at a time. Most grinders when adjusted clockwise makes the grind finer and anticlockwise courser, however some grinders are reverse.

Grinders that do not have a push down lock and use a thumb screw to lock the position are generally reverse. This type of grinder is extremely accurate as its infinitely variable so only adjust by a very small amount each time. Don’t forget to use the locking screw as it can move when you switch on the grinder.

Assuming you don’t have a set of scales to weigh the coffee you will need to estimate the amounts. Approximately level with the top of the group handle before tamping. If you have scales you need 14 gram in a double handle.

▪ First don’t grind large amounts of coffee, use a table spoon to collect the coffee and fill the group handle (portafilter) Always use a double shot handle to set up the machine measuring only one side or one spout.

▪ Fill the handle until it is level with the top or its 14grm and then tamp it down so when you touch it with your finger the surface is disturbed, but your finger doesn’t disappear into the coffee.

▪ If you only intend to use a single shot handle then proceed as above with 7grm of ground coffee.

There is a lot of resistance to using automatic tampers due to the cost involved, however we cannot recommend their use highly enough. The quality of the drink produced is down to all of the variables, as listed above, the one variable easily dealt with is the different pressures the people who are making the coffee exert when tamping. To maintain a high quality extraction the tamping needs to be consistent. By using an automatic tamper this variable is easily removed.

Now using a shot glass (Possibly the most important piece of equipment) measure and set the quantity of one side of the double handle to the line. This should take 25 seconds. Each machine varies on how to set the delivered amounts so please read the machine instructions, you can generally use the star button which should give a constant flow and press a second time to switch off.

▪ If it is less than 25 seconds the grind needs to be finer and more than 25 seconds the grind needs to be courser. If your grinder has a push down lock each click is approximately 4 seconds as a very rough guide, don’t over adjust, one or 2 clicks at a time. If no coffee is extracted then back it off.

After you pull your shot the coffee should knock out as a solid puck. If the coffee is wet and sloppy it is an indication that there is insufficient ground coffee in the filter plate. When the group handle is in the machine the coffee should be trapped firmly by the shower plate at the top. This is to stop the water taking the easy route around the sides and not through the coffee.

▪ Adjust the grinder and try again. IMPORTANT, when you adjust the grinder no change to the extraction time happens until the coffee in the shoot is replaced. Always grind sufficient to make sure you are testing the new grind.

▪ When it comes to coffee nothing is set in stone, sometimes it’s a balance between to quantity of water to the amount of ground coffee so the extraction time may be different, it all comes down to taste in the end but if you start with these instructions you won’t be far from the perfect espresso.

When you are happy with the extraction time dispose of the coffee in the hopper and grind sufficient to cover the quadrants in the hopper.

▪ Still using the double handle dose 2 full clicks of coffee allowing the lever to snap back, weigh it to make sure it’s the correct quantity, this should be level with the top of the handle as above, if not the knob in the centre of the hopper will adjust the amount dispensed. Hold the quadrant when adjusting as when you turn the knob in a clockwise direction it will dispense coffee. Clockwise to reduce the amount and anticlockwise to increase the amount.

Now load the handle, tamp it and check the extraction time to the line on the shot glass if it has changed adjust amount dispensed to get as close as you can and then adjust the grind to compensate.

Once you are happy with the extraction time to the line is 25 seconds you can set the individual buttons for the correct quantities. Once set it should not need changing.

Using the single shot handle set the shot level on the single shot button. Don’t worry about time as its the filter plate that controls the flow. A double shot will always be more accurate than a single shot.

Finally your machine will have buttons showing large and small cups and also 2 large cups, in fact you only need 2 buttons large and small or 1 and 2 cups.

We recommend that you set the button for 2 small cups and the button for a single large cup the same using the double handle measuring only one spout into the shot glass, and then the small 1 cup using the single shot handle. The 2 large cup button set the same as the single large cup as it’s not possible to make 2 large cups.

So why have this button? Below are the traditional drinks, (an extract from Wikipedia) however modern drinks have removed the need for the extra button.

Using this spare button to make a Ristretto for instance won’t work, it’s not only the time to extract or the amount of coffee, it’s the grind! By using the spare button for a longer drink you will over extract the coffee giving it a burnt taste, to use it for a shorter coffee you will under extract leaving the flavours and goodness in the coffee and creating a bitter flat drink with no body.

Of course, a second grinder would overcome this problem.

When using a manual machine, it is good practice to always use a shot glass and then tip into cup until you know the correct height in the cup but a good Barista will always measure the shot to be precise.

▪ Traditional Macchiato: 35–40 ml, 1 shot (30 ml) with a small amount of milk (mostly steamed, with slight foam so there is a visible mark)

▪ Modern Macchiato: 60 ml or 120 ml, 1 or 2 shots (30 or 60 ml), with 1:1 milk

▪ Cortado: 60 ml, 1 shot with 1:1 milk, little foam

▪ Piccolo: 90 ml, 1 shot (30 ml) with 1:2 milk, little foam

▪ Galão: 120 ml, 1 shot with 1:3 milk, little foam

▪ Flat white: 150 ml, 1 or 2 shots (30 or 60 ml), with 1:4 or 2:3 milk

▪ Cappuccino: 150–180 ml, 1 or 2 shots (30 or 60 ml), traditionally with significant dry foam, today often found with wet foam

▪ Latte: 240–600 ml, 2+ shots (60 ml), with 1:3–1:9 milk

▪ Mocha approximately 340ml of hot chocolate with 2 shots tipped in not stirred.

Coffee will absorb moister from the atmosphere so a good Barista will monitor the extraction and adjust the grind to compensate.

If you are passionate about supplying an excellent coffee and your customers know they will always be guaranteed an excellent espresso-based drink they will return time after time. The British way is

We hope the instruction are clear, however if you have problems please don’t hesitate in contacting us.

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