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Ingredients and Equipment
* Double espresso
* Whipped cream (panna)
* Coffee grinder
* Espresso machine
* Demitasse or small mug
Grind and Brew
To make your espresso con panna, the first thing you'll need is the espresso.
1. Finely grind your coffee beans and fill your portafilter. To make your espresso puck (the compacted grounds in your portafilter), tamp the espresso grounds with 30 pounds of pressure and then 15 pounds of pressure. Try practicing on a scale to know how much pressure you're applying.
2. Brew a double espresso. The extracting time of your double shot of espresso should be between 18 and 22 seconds. You'll want your stream of espresso to look like a mouse tail when it comes out, not too fat and not too skinny. Your streams should be a light brown. If they're the color of black coffee, try starting over.
3. Top your espresso with whipped cream and presto!
The espresso con panna is only as good as its ingredients. Choose an Italian-style roast of coffee for authenticity and ensure that your beans are finely ground or 'espresso ground.' If possible, you should grind the beans yourself immediately before preparing the espresso.
Before beginning however, make sure your grinder is up for the job as many electric home grinders are not designed to create a grind so fine. If this is the case, look for Italian-roasted, espresso-ground coffee at your local supermarket or coffee shop.
For the espresso con panna aficionado, only fresh whipped cream will do. Making your own whipped cream is easy and allows for creative variations of the classic confection. Try adding marshmallows to your whipped cream, or any assortment of syrups or flavor extracts.
Just make sure you don't get overzealous with the whipping of your cream and turn it into butter. Allow soft peaks to form, but going much further may result in whipped cream that is curdy or lumpy.
Water makes up almost the entirety of the espresso con panna, so you might as well ensure the quality of your experience and either filter the water or use the bottled variety. Boiling water with impurities only concentrates the impurities and intensifies any foul taste while distilled water lacks the flavor-enhancing minerals which coffee needs to comingle with.
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