Espresso shot

Espresso shots are used as the basis for many other drinks including Americano, Cappuccino and Latte. Some prefer a double shot.

An espresso shot is the amount of coffee used to brew an Espresso which is a very small, intense coffee drink.

Use 7-9 grams of ground coffee per shot.

Grind: Fine
Method:  Extraction with hot water under pressure
Duration: Extract 1.5 ounces per shot under pressure.


Whether using an inexpensive home espresso machine, or a commercial grade $20,000 machine, it is important to pull the best espresso shots that you can with it. Pulling shots in the ideal time, with an even tamp, correct water temperature, as well as other things, can help guarantee the perfect shots.


To start from the ground up, and assuming the espresso machine is 100% functional, let’s go over grinding and tamping. If your machine is not some super fancy super-automatic machine, chances are, you will have to grind your own coffee and tamp it in the portafilter yourself.

The grind itself is one of those things that will take trial and error to perfect for your specific machine, but a typical single shot consists of 7-9 grams of ground coffee, and a double shot consists of 14-18 grams.

Once the coffee is ground and put into the portafilter, tamping the coffee is the next step. Put around 20 pounds or so of pressure evenly on the tamper, give a slight twist, and pull the tamper out. Even tamping is key, as it will ensure that the whole puck of espresso is equally fortified, and so the espresso will flow through both spouts and an equal rate.

Like all coffee brewing, the temperature of the clean and fresh water used, is very important. If the water is too hot, it will burn the coffee. If the water temperature is too cool, then the resulting coffee will taste very bland, bitter, and even sour.

The key extraction time for espresso is somewhere in the range of 18-23 seconds, depending on the machine.

There are two extremes of espresso extraction. Either the shots are extremely dark, extract in way above a decent time, and taste super bitter, or they are very light, extract in a couple seconds, and have a very mild taste.

The goal is to find the middle ground of these two extremes for the perfect shots of espresso, and can be tinkered by changing the grind and tamp of the espresso. If the espresso shots are like the first situation, then using a slightly more coarse grind can help fix it. If the shots are like the second situation, using a finer grind can help change them for the better.

Overall, making great espresso shots does take some work to master with each machine, but the work is worth it to be able to make amazing tasting drinks at home!

Crema should be golden brown with a strong taste. There will be a hint of citrus slightly bitter taste followed by a smooth sweet afterglow.  Drink immediately, certainly within 60 seconds for best flavours.

There are also different types of espresso shots, such as ristretto and long shots – see our articles on Corto, Revvivare, Lungo, Cortissimo and Ristretto. For ristretto shots, the water amount of water that is pumped into the coffee is less than a normal espresso shot. This gives a sweeter and less bitter flavor. Long shots are shots that have had a lot of extra water pumped through the grounds, and will extract pretty much all the flavor and caffeine out of the grinds. Long shots are a good way to get the absolute most out of the coffee, but they are somewhat bitter.

Serve: In a small cup and gulp down in one go, or use as the basis for other drinks adding hot water and or foamed warm milk.