Making espresso is fraught potential mistakes...
that can and will effect the outcome of your drink. Most of the common mistakes are easy to avoid, and just require a bit more focus, or breaking a bad habit or two. The three mistakes I cover here are simple fixes, but in my experience are prolific with baristas everywhere. From those just starting out, to those who have been around the block in the specialty coffee industry.
The first common espresso mistake I cover is the importance of distribution prior to tamping. Whether you use a tool, your hand, tapping, or whatever, it is vitally important to spread the coffee evenly in the portafilter so it extracts evenly under the pressure of the espresso machine. If the density of the puck isn't the same on both sides, the water will travel at different rates through each side. If that's the case, you're gunna have a bad time.
Then I go over and recommend we as baristas stop polishing our puck after tamping. It's an espresso mistake that I'm guilty of too. It is a hard habit to break. Yet it adds no value to the shot, instead it brings the risk of damaging or unseating your puck. Which leads to channeling and an unevenly extracted espresso. Lastly, I just ask that we all just take it easy on our portafilter when we have nice fresh puck in it. Roughly handling your portafilter, or tapping it against the group haphazardly will also run the risk of hurting your little spro baby, or sproby as I call it.
Anyway, check out the video and as always feel free to reach out if you have any questions, or if you have any video requests!