Creating an espresso is a work of art. A certain weighed amount of coffee is necessary to create a ‘dose’ or ‘shot’ of espresso. The frreshly ground coffee is placed in a small basket where it is leveled to an even depth with no gaps or breaks in the coffee. It is then tamped down with a tool to make a sound ‘puck.’ A sound puck is crucial for a good cup of espresso, and creating one takes skill and practice. Since the water from the espresso machine is under pressure, the espresso puck must be hard and evenly tamped.
Many coffee stores have their pucks pre-made. All a barista needs to do is allow the hot water to pour through to make the espresso. The result is consistent, but with no real quality control at the shop. At Java Mountain Roasters, all the espresso baskets are hand-filled and hand-tamped. What you get is a hand-crafted espresso made freshly and right before your eyes. It’s one of the benefits of an authentic coffee shop.