We Presso folk tend to be pretty simple, but there are certain things that we think are really important in making a great cup of coffee.
Ask any coffee lover and they will tell you, the fresher the grind the better the coffee. If you really want to take your coffee making seriously you must invest in a grinder so that you can grind your own coffee at home. Do you need the most expensive one on the market? Probably not. But it's a great idea to invest in a conical burr style grinder. This kind of grinder won't heat the beans up while it grinds the coffee, which means the flavour of the coffee isn't compromised. You can get manual or electric burr grinders (manual grinders are great for those times when you are off the grid with your Presso).
Grinding your own coffee is all about experimentation. Try altering the coarseness of your grind. Traditionally, you want a finer grind for espresso but you want to make sure that it's not too fine. If when you begin to press the Presso arms down you feel a tremendous amount of pressure and no liquid is coming through the portafilter, then you know you have gone too fine. If the coffee starts pouring through the filter at warp speed, you've probably ground your coffee a bit too course.
At Presso headquarters, after a little bit of playing around, we have found the perfect grind from our machine. Our grinder produces that perfect consistency when it is set on a fairly course setting. Who woulda thunk?
Another important aspect of your grind, is how you tamp. Fill your portafilter with your desired amount of coffee, and then using the tamper press down on the coffee (once again, you will have to experiment with your tamp- you need to find a level of strength somewhere between dainty and He-Man). It's important to keep the portafilter level when you tamp-resting it on a counter top usually helps. Some people go as far as tamping on a scale to make sure they are applying the correct amount of pressure (usually around 30 lbs), but after some experimentation you will know what works best for you and your Presso.
Grind at home, play around with your technique, and start drinking some really delicious coffee!