How to Use Machine for Espresso

A beginner can make authentic tasting espresso drinks at home using a semi-automatic or fully automatic espresso machine. Some espresso fans prefer manual espresso machines to control the results. However, they require expert knowledge and skill to make good espresso.

Semi-automatic espresso machines automatically build pressure to pump hot water over ground espresso. Fully automatic machines make complete beverages, from grinding the beans to adding the hot water or milk. Select a model that fits your skill and tastes, and you will be making espresso and saving money at the same time.

How to Use an Espresso Machine

Step 1

Fill the espresso machine reservoir or boiler with water. Warm up the machine according to manufacturer directions.

Step 2

Grind the espresso beans using a separate coffee grinder, or the grinder included with the machine, to a very fine espresso grind.

Step 3

Fill the portafilter or coffee basket with the desired amount of ground coffee. Tamp or press down, then wipe off any excess grounds.

Step 4

Replace the portafilter or basket in its receptacle or holder, then start the espresso machine to make a 1-2 oz. espresso shot. Stop the machine once you have enough espresso.

Step 5

Add 6-8 oz. of hot water to the espresso shot for Cafe Americano-style coffee.

Step 6

Steam and froth 10-12 oz. of milk in a container or pitcher using the steam wand (located on the side of many machines) by placing the steam wand into the milk and turning the wand's knob on, until the milk reaches the desired temperature. Check the temperature with an instant thermometer, and turn the knob off.

Step 7

Use the steamed milk in place of hot water for a latte. Pour the heated milk into the espresso shot in a coffee cup and add a flavored syrup to taste.


  • Use a container with a handle to steam milk to prevent burns.
  • Do not attempt to make espresso without properly warming up the espresso machine.

About the Author

Roxanne McHenry has written online marketing articles and courses for Web publications including Affiliate Classroom and Web Pro News since 2002. McHenry has a B.A. in Japanese language and literature, and lived and worked in Japan as a teacher and technical translator.