How to Pull the Perfect Espresso Shot

by Saint Frank Coffee

Techniques and tips to pull the perfect espresso shot.


  • Espresso machine
  • 19 Grams Hig quality ground espresso
  • 1 Scale
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    Start by turning on your machine and making sure the portafilter is rinsed with warm water. It's important to keep everything at temperature.

    Step 2

    Rinse off the group head (where you attach the portafilter) to clean away any excess espresso.

    Step 3

    Dry the portafilter.

    Step 4

    A scale may seem intense, but it's really important in getting the recipe just right. They're cheap ($20) and can make all the difference in your coffee endeavors. Tare the portafilter.

    Step 5

    Fill the "double" basket with 19 g of good quality finely ground espresso. Here we used a medium roast to let the quality of the beans show through.

    Step 6

    The beans should be anywhere from 6-14 days post-roast. This gives the beans a chance to mellow out after roasting. But, after 14 days the beans will start to lose a lot of their desirable aromas.

    Step 7

    Measurement looks like it's right on track.

    Step 8

    Use your hand and level the espresso into a flat layer. Wipe any excess espresso off the sides of the basket.

    Step 9

    Now tamp the espresso evenly into place.

    Step 10

    You'll want an even layer all the way around the basket, like this, so that the water doesn't go through a thinner part of the coffee faster than others.

    Step 11

    Twist the portafilter into the machine.

    Step 12

    Pull your shot. You should yield about 34-36 grams of liquid espresso for the 19 g of ground espresso we used. Here you'll see the orange crema on top. This is water emulsified in oil and is tasty.

    Step 13

    It should take 24-30 seconds to yield this much espresso. If it pulls faster, the shot will taste sour and not complex, since it didn't have time to extract a lot of the flavor.

    Step 14

    If it takes you longer than 30 seconds to pull this much espresso, the flavors will be over-extracted and be bitter.

    Step 15

    Enjoy as is, or pour in some seamed milk for a latte.