Grind beans on espresso setting. If the shot pours out too fast (shorter than 14 seconds), the grind is too coarse. If the pull is too slow (longer than 20 seconds), the grind is too fine.
Turn front knob all the way to the left. This will start heating the water in order to steam the milk and extract the espresso. Make sure machine has enough water to steam milk and extract espresso.
Using an espresso tamper, press grounds into the basket of the portafilter. Twist the portafilter into the grouphead. The grouphead will pull heated water from reservoir and filter through grounds.
While waiting for the "green light" pour desired milk (almond, soy, goat, 1%, 2%, whole, etc.) into pitcher and insert thermometer.
Once green light is on you're ready to steam!
Insert steam wand directly in the center and fully submerge. Once milk reaches 120-130 degrees gently pull steam wand toward the edge of the pitcher, just above the surface of the milk.
You should hear a soft whirring sound. If the sound is loud and obnoxious the wand is too far above the milk and if it's a deep rumbling sound it's too far inside the pitcher.
You should start to see velvety foam gather at the top. Anywhere between 140-160 degrees is prime milk temperature.
Gently pull pitcher off wand with towel in hand. Always clean off steam wand!! This will save headaches of clogged steam wands in the future.
Gently tap bottom of pitcher onto a hard surface. This will pop any foam bubbles you may have and knock the excess air out of your foam. Leaving you with velvety goodness.
Turn knob to the right. (One notch right of center.) Wait for green light.
While waiting for green light pour any desired syrup (almond, vanilla, etc) into coffee mug. Mug should be at least 14-16oz. -- If you'd like to know more, request a flavored simple syrup recipe.
Place shot glass under portafilter. Turn knob all the way to the right. You'll begin to hear the pump. Watch extraction closely. You should start to see changes in color as the shot glass fills.
The ideal pull of a shot should be around 14 seconds but no more than 20. The dark bottom layer is the heart of the shot, the middle light color is the body, and the foamy caramel layer is the crema.
Immediately pour shot into mug. If you wait too long, the entire shot will turn black and will "die." (Taste bitter.)
Pour steamed milk underneath the top layer of foam in mug.
Finish with foam on top.