Find a quality espresso machine. Mine is a DeLonghi EC 155 pump espresso machine.
Add filtered water to the reservoir for the best taste. Turn on the machine to so it starts to heat the water as you prepare the filter. Follow your machine's instructions for heating.
Be sure you grind your beans very fine. I find it easier to buy whole beans and grind to my preference.
My machine came with a plastic tamper attached to it, but it is much easier to buy a separate tamper like this one. However, be sure to check the dimensions to be sure it will fit.
Add one flat scoop of espresso grind to the filter. Firmly and evenly press down with the tamper, but don't smash it as hard as you can.
It should look flat and even like this.
My filter holds two scoops (two shots), so I add a second scoop and tamper it. This can be messy, so I tamper it over the coffee canister. Be sure there are no grinds on the rim of the filter.
Attach the filter basket per the instructions of your machine and wait for the ready light to turn on to indicate the water is hot. The longer you can wait, the better.
Heat up your espresso cup by running it under hot water, inside and out.
You should have a nice layer of crema on top (thin foam) with a nice deep color and some bubbles. If there are large white spots, you let it drip too long. Enjoy!
Most machines also have a milk frothing nozzle if you want to make lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, etc.