Interested in how to make the perfect cup of espresso and how to pull the perfect shot of espresso? There are many factors to consider when extracting the perfect espresso shot.
Each barista has different opinions on what is considered a perfect shot, however, in the end; it all comes down to taste. For now, there are 4 main techniques that affect an espresso shot; which are Grind, Dose, Tamp and Pour.
Proper Dose: 7-9 Grams:
When it comes to espresso blends arabica coffee beans are recommended and mostly used. Some professional barista's even consider adding a little bit of high quality robusta beans to enhance the crema, usually 10-15%.
Proper Dose for 1 shot should be between 7-9 grams, and 14-18 grams for a double shot.
1 oz of Water:
A 1 oz shot is considered the "median", and is often recommended; however, this varies from person to person since in the end it's all about the taste.
Some prefer their shots "Ristretto", which is about 3/4 of an ounce. Also, on the other hand, others prefer anywhere from 1 ¼ - 1 ½ ounce shots.
Brewing Time: 28-30 Seconds:
28-30 seconds is considered excellent timing.
Again, since in the end it all comes down to taste, some barista's prefer anywhere from 24-28 seconds.
Very Fine Grind:
A very fine grind is highly recommended to ensure quality taste. Nearly 20% of Grinds should be extracted; pouring out along with the hot water.
The rest of the grinds should NOT be used for a second shot; since on the 2nd and 3rd shot, you will only extract bad grinds, which will cause poor flavor.
Tamp Pressure: 30 – 40 Lbs:
Proper tamping is done by adding 30 - 40 pounds of pressure to the coffee grinds in the portafilter.
To ensure the grinds are even and leveled out, make sure your elbow is at 90 degrees.
Water Temperature: 195-200 degrees F:
The water temperature should be anywhere from 195-200 degrees F.
Again, depending on your equipment, other barista's agree that the temperature should even go as high as 203 degrees F.
Water Pressure: 8-10 bars:
8-10 bars is the preferred range for great espresso extraction. This generates 140 pounds per square inch. Some barista's even have their machine set to lower levels, to minimize the extraction of any unpleasant oils.
Driving out the oils from grounds is what actually creates a proper espresso shot. Forcing out water at 140 pounds per square inch can only be done using an Espresso Machine. If oils are not extracted properly, all you have is brewed coffee.
Crema: The sign of a proper espresso:
Crema is a perfect sign of a PROPER espresso. Crema attaches to taste buds; which provides a long after-taste.
Another thing to keep in mind is that an espresso shot must come out like warm honey. You will notice the crema pour out at the top of an espresso shot.
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The recipe above is quite simple and covers the basics. Although the factors above need to be kept in mind when extracting the perfect shot, there are still other considerations to keep in mind.
The perfect espresso shot is also determined by its maker; the espresso machine.
In order to achieve the perfect shot, each piece of equipment may require further alteration such as adjusting the water temperature, dose, etc. This all depends on the age, model, level of maintenance, and wear and tear that your espresso machine has endured.