For a clearer view...
The particular beans that you see here are from a batch of Josuma Select Malabar Gold, a blend of coffee beans specially formulated for espresso.
In the center are the so called "green beans" before they were roasted, and on the outside are some beans after I roasted them in my home coffee roaster (a Fresh Roast Plus).
For espresso I manually grind them to a slightly gritty but still fine powder in a manual burr grinder (a Zassenhaus). This gets loaded and hand-tamped into a double basket portafilter, conventionally used to dose for a double shot, and inserted into either the La Cara or La Pavoni manual piston espresso machines. Both of these machines involve the user by having him push down on a lever to force the hot water through the tightly compacted espresso grounds.
The shot then gets pulled under great pressure into a pre-heated tazzina (a small espresso cup - I use a 68 cc feldspathic porcelain tazzina made by IPA Porcellane in Italy, pattern Bologna), for a total draw of around 1.25-1.5 ounces (2.5-3 tablespoons).
Such a very short shot is called a ristretto, which when made correctly has to be the purest form that one can enjoy an espresso - a wonderful concentration of coffee flavor with plenty of mouthfeel and a pleasant bitterness.
...and once in a blue moon when everything is right it produces the proverbial "god shot", which is actually creamy in taste. (And yes, this is all without using any milk! :-) )
Much has changed since I first posted this; here's a video on YouTube that shows my current eqiupment and workflow...
Taken with an Epson Perfection 4990 scanner.
Before and After - Coffee Roasting
Jan. 9, 2006
blog sighting at:
Beauty is your Happiness
Black Drop Coffeehouse
Cheirinho de Cafe
Columbia Board of Tourism
Fitness y Wellness
Italian Roast Coffee
My Espresso Machine - Love Your Coffee
Sadaf Coffee Shop
Smithsonian's Food & Think blog
This I Do
Image search on Google
Also spotted in Flickr's explore ("interestingness") blog.