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Espresso Brewing Guide

Espresso coffee is a perfect example of how less can be more. A coffee lover’s favorite, espresso coffee is an ideal brew to offer an unforgettable experience. All you need to know to sip and savor the perfect cup of espresso in your own home is in this espresso brewing guide.

What You Need

  • Espresso machine with a portafilter
  • Tamper
  • Coffee
  • Burr grinder
  • Scale
  • Filtered water
  • Knock box
  • Mug or decanter
  • Timer

Brew Time for Espresso Coffee

2 ½ - minutes

How to Make Espresso Coffee

Step 1:

Start with the right beans. Espresso beans have very specific traits that will create the right taste and richness for this unique brew.

Step 2:

Using an espresso grinder, grind the beans down to the size of a grain of salt, and fill the filter cup loosely.

Step 3:

Use the tamper to press the coffee down into the filter cup. This is where the grind is important – if it’s too fine and you tamp it too hard, the water won’t properly penetrate and extract the coffee.

Step 4:

Use a proper “demitasse” cup to serve your espresso - a conically shaped, thick, porcelain, heated cup is best. The conical shape helps to ease the espresso into the cup forming a better “crema.”

Step 5:

Brew the espresso. The proper espresso is poured “short” – at about 1 ½ ounces. This is ideal for texture, taste, and mouth feel.

Step 6:

If brewed properly, the crema will be thick enough to support a teaspoon of sugar for seconds – and the thick, heated cup will keep the temperature of the shot just right.

Enjoy the perfect espresso!

Top Questions about Espresso

With a little information and an espresso machine, you may find that your favorite cup of espresso can be brewed at home. Read through these common questions about espresso, and you will be ready to put your espresso machine to daily use in no time.

What is the Best Ratio of Espresso to Water?

The most common range used for regular espresso is usually 1:2. This means that for every gram of coffee in your basket, you will yield 2 grams of liquid espresso. Depending on if you choose single-origin or a blend, you may find you are adjusting the ratios to brew your perfect cup.

Why is My Espresso Bad?

The answer to this question is in the brew time. If the coffee is over-extracted, the coffee releases unwanted flavors and can taste harsh, bitter, and burnt. When coffee is under-extracted, it doesn’t bring out the best of the bean, leaving the brew weak and sour.

What Roast is Best for Espresso?

Medium-dark or dark roast coffee beans are best for espresso due to the rich, smooth brew that results. Dark roast beans are preferred because they brew a smoother, less acidic flavor profile. The roast type of the bean will be amplified in the brewing process, so the acidic, floral notes of a light roast will be magnified with the espresso brewing method.

Can I Make Espresso with Regular Coffee?

You can use your favorite coffee blend for making espresso if the beans are finely ground. Freshly roasted beans create the best espresso experience, and dark roast profiles are recommended.

What is the Best Type of Coffee for Espresso?

All types of coffee can be used for espresso
as long as it has been finely ground. Dark roast coffees are often preferredfor espresso due to their stronger flavor. The brewing method of forcing water through the grounds amplifies the flavor profile of the bean, so other roasts may not provide flavors as smooth and robust as a dark roast.


What are the 4 Types of Espresso Shots?

– ¾ oz of an espresso shot

– 1 oz standard serving size

– 1.5 oz of espresso

shot (Doppio) – 2 oz of espresso

The perfect shot of espresso is easy to brew at home. With a little patience and practice, you will have your espresso machine brewing up shots that you can savor slowly any time of the day. Espresso is also an ideal base for other drinks, so stock up on some coffee enhancements and open a coffee bar in your own kitchen!

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