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The Recipe

An espresso recipe consists of dose, yield and time and by using a scale and measuring these elements in the recipe will help you replicate a great shot, culminating in the perfect cup, while troubleshooting potential issues that may arise and adjusting your creation method to suite. Although making the perfect cup of coffee is an art, it is an art that can easily be mastered in your own home. Start with a quality blend of coffee, either beans or ground – then experiment.

The Dose

As a rule of thumb, the dose is how much ground coffee is being put in the basket. Choose your dose based on the basket size in your portafilter and the number of cups you are making. Use a dose between 7-10g of ground coffee for a single basket, 16-18g for a double basket and 20-22 for triple baskets. Remember always place your grinds into a clean add dry basket. To ensure your dose is accurate, tare the scale with the portafilter on top, then grind it into the basket, placing the portafilter back on the scale.

The Yield

Once you have set your dose, you will then choose your yield – this going to be the total weight, in grams of your shot of espresso. We always recommend measuring by grams and not measured by volume as the volume of a shot changes based on the coffee used and when it was roasted. Fresh coffee beans or grounds will weigh less but produce a lot more crema more over usings older beans. You will often see dose and yield written as a ratio – this formular measures ground coffee input to liquid espresso output. Ratios for espresso typically range from 1:1 to 1:3, as a general rule using smaller ratios for darker roasts and larger ratios for lighter roasts. However, the final test is the tasting. Let me assure you, you will get used to this process and master the skill.

The Gringing

Time ties all this together creating the perfect espresso. This process is measured in seconds, the total number of seconds it takes to create a shot. Aim for you shot to be between 25 and 30 seconds. To make this selected time frame to happen, look to your grinder or grinds. By manipulating the size of the actual grinds will determine how long the hot water takes to flow through the coffee bed. Think of the course grinds as rocks in a glass, and the finer grinds as sand, the water will make its way through the rocks at a faster rate to the sand. Changing your grinds will allow you to fine-tune the time of your shot. Similarly, you will more than likely change your grind daily as coffee ages it will pull faster encouraging you to grind faster – so only grind for that one dispensing. Prentice makes perfect.

Distribution of the Coffee

To pull an even shot, you need to level the coffee bed. Once you grind your dose into your portafilter, gently tap the sides of the portafilter few times to disturb the coffee until it appears flat. Keep this to a minimum, as you do not want to cause a crack in the coffee bed. Once it looks level, it’s time to tamp.


Hold the tamper between your index finger and thumb, almost like grabbing a doorknob. Stand perpendicular to the portafilter and place your tamper into the basket. Your arm should be at about a 90-degree angle. Lightly lean into the tamper, applying slow and gentle pressure. The amount of pressure is less critical than the repeatability and consistency.

Pulling your Coffee

You can pull a shot now the coffee bed is level and tamped. Irrespective of the type of machine you use, ensure that is warmed up ready to go. Flush some water through the group head to ensure it is hot and clean. Inset the portafilter into the group and tighten it into place until it feels snug and tight, don’t overtighten it. Place your scale and cup on the drip tray, then start your shot and timer. Once you have reached your yield, stop the shot and not the time. Remember, you need the 1:15 ratio ton pull in 30 seconds.


Here are some final pointers. You must coarsen your grind if your shot takes well over 30 seconds.

You must adjust your grind finer if your shot time is under 25 seconds.

Try tasting every shot you pull – even the ones aren’t perfect, you may discover another recipe that’s more pleasant for you.

That’s the beauty of espresso at home, you are the barista and the consumer.

Not so bad, right? Perfecting the art of espresso at home take time, and a lot of practice, if you don’t get it right the first time – no harm done; just keep trying.

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