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Making a Perfect Cup of Espresso & Coffee Recipes to Try at Home


To many coffee lovers, espresso is coffee. It is the essence of coffee — its ultimate expression. Originated in Italy around the late 1800s to early 1900s, espresso provides the most comprehensive picture of the character of the roasted beans, giving the finished cup the fullest aroma and the most intense sensory impact. It is also the one that uses the most pressure and results in the most concentrated final product.


Good Espresso is Good Chemistry

A classic espresso is a concentrated beverage of about 25ml of coffee served in an espresso cup (typically 2-3 oz. in size) at an optimal tasting temperature of 70℃. It is recognised by its unique properties that cannot otherwise be found in other preparation methods: full body, intense aroma and a compact, hazelnut-coloured crema.


Every element of espresso preparation is important to achieving a perfect cup of espresso coffee - from a perfect balance between grind, temperature and pressure to the quality of the machine. After grinding, 7-7.5g of ground coffee is pressed into the filter holder with a tamper exerting a force of about 20kg, forming a compact and uniform panel. This process is known as tamping. It ensures coffee particles offer the ideal resistance to the water passing through the machine, and thus, extracting optimal amounts of flavours and aromas. During extraction, water of 92℃ flows through a professional machine at a pressure of around 9 bar. This high water pressure contributes to the levels of flavour and aroma to be extracted. Extraction time is around 30 seconds; anything less than 25 seconds will result in an excessively acidic espresso.


Brewing the Perfect Cup of Espresso at Home

While espresso is said to be a barista’s sternest challenge, home systems that take up much less space are now allowing home-baristas to enjoy cafe quality espressos at the comfort of their homes and offices. illy’s Iperespresso capsule machine series offers coffee lovers elegant, compact espresso and coffee machines that will fit in kitchens and offices, large and small. With a pressure pump of up to 19 bars, Iperespresso capsule systems use a patented two-stage process to create intensely aromatic, full-bodied espresso with a rich, long-lasting aroma. Cafe quality espresso and other espresso-based coffee drinks are always just one button away.

Simple Espresso-Based Coffee Recipes

Espresso, as accomplished as it is being a leading role on the stage of coffee, provides a blank canvas for inexhaustible inspirations and creativity. Often reinterpreted with chocolate, cream and milk, espresso serves as the foundation for many coffee drinks. Here are three easy-to-make espresso-based coffee recipes.



A staple on the Italian breakfast table, a favourite among many coffee lovers around the world, Cappuccino is a coffee drink that needs no introduction. The light, velvety milk foam on top contrasts the decisive impact of espresso at the bottom, joined by a layer of steamed milk in the middle.


  • 1 shot (25 ml) espresso
  • 85 ml fresh whole milk


  • Cappuccino cup
  • Milk frothing pitcher


  1. Prepare the espresso directly in a cappuccino cup.
  2. Froth the cold milk in the pitcher using your espresso machine’s steam wand until it forms a full-bodied, compact foam and the milk reaches 65℃.  Use whole milk for a smooth, rich foam. Low-fat milk can also be used but will produce a lighter foam that is quicker to dissolve.
  3. Gently add the milk to the espresso in a circular motion from the centre to the rim of the cup, letting the two combine slightly. On the surface, the white of the milk should end up with delicate streaks of coffee.


Chocolate wave

A delectable ménage à trois coming together, clashing and forming a mouthwatering affair. In this hot coffee recipe, hot chocolate melds with the aromatic espresso coffee, crowned with a cool, foamy layer of fresh milk.


  • 20-25 ml espresso
  • 15-20 ml hot chocolate
  • 20 ml fresh skimmed milk


  • 60 ml glass
  • Milk frothing pitcher
  • Milk frother


  1. Prepare the hot chocolate in the pitcher and pour it into the glass.
  2. Prepare the espresso directly into the same glass, adding it to the hot chocolate.
  3. Froth the cold milk in the pitcher using the milk frother.
  4. To finish, add the foam to the coffee and hot chocolate mixture and serve.


Irish Coffee

A celebrated classic coffee-based cocktail of Irish origin, Irish coffee is the perfect union of espresso coffee and Irish whiskey. The delicate layer of thick but not excessively whipped cream topping the drink gives it a nice velvety mouthfeel, balancing the strength of the spiked coffee. Served warm, this spiked coffee recipe is the perfect company on a cold winter night.


  • 2 shots (45-50 ml) espresso
  • 40 ml Irish whiskey
  • 40 ml fresh heavy cream
  • 1 tsp (5g) cane sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 coffee beans


  • 150 ml glass
  • Cappuccino cup
  • Mink shaker and mixing spoon
  • Cocoa sprinkler


  1. Prepare two shots of espresso in a cappuccino cup.
  2. Pour the whiskey and cane sugar into the glass and heat with the steam wand of your espresso machine. Take care not to overheat it, as this will alter the aroma of the whiskey.
  3. Add the coffee to the glass of warm liquor.
  4. Shake the cream, which should be very cold, in the mini shaker until it thickens.
  5. Place the cream on top of the cocktail by pouring it down the back of the mixing spoon. The cream should float on top of the coffee.

Decorate with a dusting of cocoa powder, garnish with two beans and serve.



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