Brewing 101: Espresso

Making espressos is an incredibly popular method of coffee brewing. It’s delicious when it’s drunk straight or with milk. If you’re new to making espressos, here’s a short crash course.

What’s Espresso?

Espresso is made by forcing high-pressurized hot water through ground coffee beans. This shortens the time taken to brew the coffee and dissolves more solids in emulsified oil, resulting in a more concentrated black coffee than other types of coffee preparation methods. You’ll require an espresso machine to make espresso. There are also other crucial aspects to making a good cup of espresso, such as using the right size of ground beans, the correct dosage, and yield, and tamping properly.

Grind, Dose, and Yield

You need a special grinder to make very, very finely ground beans required for making espresso. Use an espresso grinder that utilizes burrs instead of blades to get finely ground beans. Next, you need to get the right ratio of coffee to water, also known as dose. For the dosage, you’ll need 18 to 21 grams of ground coffee to brew a double shot. It’ll result in a 2-ounce shot, also known as your yield. You should have a scale to measure this. Having accurate measurements will ensure consistent quality and results.


With grind, dose, and yield done with, next we will look at tamping. Tamping involves applying pressure to compress your coffee. The high pressure will keep coffee and water together to dissolve more solids and emulsify the oils. A weak tamp will lead to a weak and tasteless shot, so tamping firmly with a tamper is incredibly important.


Lastly, the temperature is important in any brewing process. The recommended temperature for espresso brewing is between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll be able to control the temperature setting on most espresso machines, while other machines adjust themselves automatically.

Making an Espresso

Now that you’re familiar with all the details of making an espresso shot, let’s go over the entire process. To begin making espresso, prep your espresso machine. Some machines will plumb water automatically, while others require you to refill it manually. Heat the machine and wait until it’s hot. Run water through the group and portafilter first so you’ll have fresh water for your espresso. Grind and dose your coffee, then shake the portafilter lightly to evenly distribute the coffee within. This makes sure that the ground beans will receive even pressure when you tamp. Press the tamp firmly and twist it slightly to hold loose grounds in place. Your tamper should be dry and clean so it doesn’t affect the process. When that’s done, place the portafilter inside the group. Start the brewing process with the required temperature and duration. You should end up with a full 2-ounce shot glass that has a layer of creme at the top.

That’s how you make a delicious shot of espresso at home! If your espresso tastes over-extracted, you should grind coarser and adjust for a smaller yield. If it tastes under-extracted, adjust for a larger yield and use finer ground beans.

If you’d like to get the proper equipment to start making espresso, you can buy espresso machines, bean grinders, coffee beans, and other accessories at Gaia Coffee Roasters.