Brew Coach: How To Make Espresso

Mastering the art of home espresso with ease

By Chris Ali


December 22, 2023

Brew Coach

In the world of coffee aficionados, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a perfectly brewed espresso. The rich, concentrated flavor and velvety crema are the hallmarks of a well-made shot. While your local barista may have perfected the art, mastering the art of brewing espresso at home is an achievable goal. Dialing in espresso can be a bit of a trial-and-error process, but here's a basic recipe to help you get started.

Keep in mind that factors like the type of coffee beans, grind size, and the specific espresso machine you're using can influence the ideal parameters. This recipe assumes you have a burr grinder, a scale, and a coffee machine with a portafilter.

Ingredients and Tools:

Choose Quality Beans:
Starting with high-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans will set you up for brewing success.

Grind Size:
Set your burr grinder to a fine espresso grind. The grind size is crucial for espresso; it should resemble powdered sugar.

Weigh the Coffee:
Measure your coffee dose. A standard single espresso shot is around 17-20 grams. Adjust the dose based on your taste preferences.

Tamp the Coffee:
Place the coffee grounds into the portafilter basket. Tamp the grounds down evenly and with consistent pressure using a tamper. The surface should be level and smooth.

Pre-infusion (Optional):
Some espresso machines have a pre-infusion feature. If yours does, use it. If not, you can skip this step.

Brew Time:
Start the shot and time the extraction. A standard single espresso shot should take around 25-30 seconds to extract. Adjust the grind size if your shot is too fast (under-extracted) or too slow (over-extracted).

  • If the shot is too fast, watery and sour, your grind is likely too coarse. Adjust to a finer grind.
  • If the shot is too slow, thick and bitter, your grind is likely too fine. Adjust to a coarser grind.

Adjust the Grind:
Make small adjustments to the grind size and repeat the process until you achieve a balanced shot within the 25-30 second range.

Taste and Refine:
Taste the espresso. Look for a balanced flavor with a good balance of sweetness, acidity, and bitterness. Adjust the grind size and dose as needed to achieve the desired taste.

Get Creative:
Once you've nailed the basics, it's time to get creative! Add a splash of frothy milk for a homemade cappuccino or latte. Your kitchen is now your personal coffee laboratory – let your inner barista shine!

Pro Tips:

  • Keep in mind that a good quality burr grinder is absolutely essential for espresso.
  • Machines that have grinders built in (like this one) are great options for saving money and counter space.
  • A simple and affordable machine (like this one) can produce the same quality espresso as a cafe.

Making espresso at home is not just a money-saving venture; it's a delightful journey of self-discovery and caffeinated joy. So, roll up your sleeves, dust off that espresso machine, and get ready to impress yourself and your guests with the perfect espresso. With a sprinkle of patience and a dollop of practice, you'll be well on your way to becoming the bad ass barista you were always meant to be.

Drop us a message at for personalized help with your brewing experience!



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