How to make the perfect espresso

All good Italian style coffee begins with an espresso shot or two. Here, in Australia, the vast majority of coffee consumed is based on espresso. Flat whites, cafe latte, cappuccino, long black, mocha, piccolo, macchiato are all based on an espresso shot. Therefore it is important to achieve the best quality espresso as it dictates the quality of your coffee from the outset. If you are adding milk to your coffee, it doesn’t matter how good your milk steaming skills are if the quality of your espresso is not good.

This is a Lucaffe ESE (easy serve espresso) coffee pod:

It is the only real alternative to the coffee that you would make with a traditional machine. We have heaps of information about ESE coffee pods on our website that is worth reading about, as they are much more than just the original compostable coffee pod.

Put simply, a Lucaffe ESE coffee pod is a 7-gram pre-dosed puck of freshly ground coffee encased in a permeable food grade compostable paper. It is precision tamped and stored in its own packet with a modified atmosphere so it stays fresh and ready to extract an espresso. 

Let's make the perfect espresso...


First, select your coffee from the Lucaffe range of 9 different blends and single origin coffees. Tear the packet open across the top, then pop your nose into the packet and let the delicious aroma of freshly ground coffee fill your senses.

Pop the pod out of the sachet and hold it by the tab. Lift the lever of your La Piccola machine and place the pod on to the basket and lower the handle until it’s locked, press the dosing button, and HEY PRESTO…… ESPRESSO! Simple. An ESE coffee pod is approximately 7 grams of ground coffee and will deliver 30mls of espresso.

If you are using another brand of ESE coffee pod compatible machine follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual. In the case of a traditional handle machine with an ESE coffee pod adaptor, fold the tab on the pod underneath and place it into the basket, then extract your espresso.

If you like your coffee stronger, extract a second ESE coffee pod into your cup for a “Doppio Espresso” or double shot espresso.

Lucaffee ESE coffee pods deliver, fast, clean, simple and above all delicious espresso.

Now that you know how to make the perfect espresso, you can work your way through all the various styles and techniques of the different coffees based on espresso.


An espresso macchiato is simply espresso with a teaspoon of foam from a freshly steamed jug of milk laid on top of the espresso. The best way to make this coffee is to steam your milk as usual. Once the milk is ready, tap the jug on a flat surface to settle the heavy milk. Then, take a good teaspoon of the foam from the top of the milk and float it on top of the espresso. Macchiato is the Italian word for stain, therefore you are staining your espresso with milk.

Piccolo Latte

A Piccolo latte starts with an espresso in a 4oz espresso cup or glass. Steam your milk as you would for a cafe latte. Once your milk has been steamed, pour it over the espresso to top up the glass with a little foam on the top. Piccolo Latte is for lovers of espresso who like a little milk in their coffee. It is a great second coffee of the day.

Flat White

Easily the most popular coffee in Australia, the Flat White starts with one or two espresso shots, with steamed milk carefully poured into it to float the crema on top. The idea is to have little or no froth on the top of the milk. The flat white is all about the coffee so the milk is kept to a minimum. Designed for lovers of coffee and not coffee flavoured milk. It is generally served in a 6 or 8-ounce cup.


The Cappuccino is the second most popular coffee in Australia and probably the most popular milky coffee in the world. Generally, a cappuccino is drunk as a morning coffee with breakfast. It begins with espresso and is then topped off with foamy milk and a shake of chocolate powder on the top. Rich, foamy and delicious. The amount of foam and how it is poured is all open for debate. Every maker of the cappuccino has a slightly different idea on what is perfect for them. And …. nobody is wrong. Who doesn’t love a sweet, chocolatey, frothy coffee! A cappuccino is usually served in an 8 ounce or larger cup.

Cafe Latte

Or, as we say in Australia, a latté. Funnily, if you ask for a latté in Italy you will just receive milk, hence the name Café Latté. Served in a glass with well steamed/stretched milk and poured into the glass with a good finger width of foam on the top. The café latté is to be lingered over while pondering life and all that is going on around you. It is a real café coffee for coffee lovers and lovers of coffee.


To start a mochaccino or a “mocha”, extract your espresso into your favourite coffee cup. Then add one or 2 teaspoons of your favourite chocolate powder and mix to combine. We then like to steam the milk as you would for a cappuccino, top up the espresso/chocolate mix and shake some more chocolate powder on the top, simple and just a little indulgent.

Long Black

For those that appreciate the real flavours of unadulterated coffee the long black is the weapon of choice. Take half a cup of water off the group head then extract one or two shots and you have a delicious lingering black coffee. It is even good when it is cold.

The reason we like to take the water straight off the group head is that it is the right temperature for coffee. (Hot water from the hot water tap on a coffee machine usually comes straight from the steam boiler and is too hot for coffee thus spoiling the flavour and can make it bitter.)

Other coffee styles

These are the most popular coffee requests that we receive at Lucaffe. We also make cold brew coffee, ristretto, and a host of other coffees. Someone might ask what about a latte macchiato, a pour-over, an americano, a ristretto, the list is somewhat endless.

We love coffee in all it’s forms and how you like your coffee is completely up to you. If you like half a shot of espresso topped with oat milk and 4 sugars then that’s fine, because, in the end, it is just a drink, your drink.