A few posts ago, I described my daily routine for morning espresso. It has worked very well at making delicious espresso. But some of you might wonder why I foam the milk first, then brew the espresso directly into the foam. This is probably not the most common way to do it, and the milk foam is secondary to the espresso itself.
This order of events came about because of my tinkering to get not only great tasting espresso, but also to do it quickly with minimal clean up time. By doing the foam first, I also thought the foam would keep the coffee cups warm until ready for the espresso, and the espresso would be piping hot as the last step in the process.
Now, however, I hava switched to brewing the espresso first and foaming the milk second! It turns out that, in the opinion of me and my wife, the espresso might be a little bit cooler, but this is far outweighed by the delicious creaminess. I don't know the scientific explanation for this, but I presume it has something to do with allowing the crema to form. This technique also allows me to practice creating cappuccino foam art - though I'm not very good at it yet. (Here is a good example of how to do it by someone more advanced at it than me.)
To clarify the details of this "new" routine ... it is essentially the same as the old except as indicated in BOLD below:
1. Wake up
2. Turn on the Baby Gaggia espresso machine
3. Let the machine warm up while I workout
[Moved milk frothing to step 14 below.]
4. Run water through the group head
5. Run water through the steam wand
6. Collect in the frothing pitcher
7. Pour hot water from frothing cup into espresso cups (this warms them)
8. Load the filter holder with espresso - tamp down
9. Brew into the espresso cups until the crema is just right (about a 20 count)
10. Drop the spent espresso puck into the knock box
11. Clean the filter holder with the purged steam water
12. Repeat steps 10 - 13 as needed to brew more espresso shots
13. Add sugar to your espresso as desired and stir (I like to add the sugar when the espresso is very hot because it dissolves better)
14. Froth milk in the frothing cup and pour into the espresso cups (this allows you to do cool cappuccino designs with the crema and foam)
15. Enjoy it HOT!