Espresso Tips

Starting tips on making espresso

General Tips

Use the right tools

  • Scale - use a coffee or kitchen scale with a 0.1g accuracy. If single-dosing (which means portioning out your coffee for the shot), weigh out coffee (wholebean). If using a doser-less grinder (and you have the grind set to a timer), weigh out the ground coffee (in a dosing funnel or with the portafilter).
  • Grinder - use a flat or conical grinder that offers a consistent grind size for espresso. The Baratza Vario is a good home grinder option for espresso.
  • Distribution tool - optional, but not really. Good even distribution of the puck is essential, and a distribution tool helps to achieve this.
  • Tamper - use an appropriate tamper for the portafilter size, one that fits just snug (not too wide/tight that it creates a vacuum when lifting, and not too narrow that there is coffee along the inner sides. There are tamping tools available that allow level and consistent tamps, like the Push tamp.


  • Rest your coffee - it is a misconception that fresh roasted coffee right out of the roaster is the best. Roasted coffee needs time to rest. The resting time will vary depending on the coffee (the variety, fermentation type, processing, and roast profile).
  • For our Foundation Coffees, we usually recommend resting at least 1-2 weeks before brewing.


  • Water profile - water is probably the most overlooked, yet most important, aspect of coffee brewing. The water you use will depend on your local water source. We generally advise to start ‘fresh’ with RO or Distilled water and add back minerals specific to coffee brewing, such as Third Wave Water (Espresso profile).

General Guide

  1. Prepare coffee (if single dosing)
  2. Remove portafilter, clean basket
  3. Purge group head
  4. Grind coffee
  5. Distribute grounds evenly in portafilter
  6. Tamp with even pressure
  7. Place into group head, start shot immediately
  8. Arrange cups into place on drip tray
  9. Stop shot at desired weight

Starting Recipes

‘Classic’ Espresso

Suitable for more medium to medium-dark roasts emphasising a heavier sweetness. A shorter ratio will give a more intense and richly textured shot.

18 grams IN

  • dry weight (or grounds weight)

34-38 grams OUT

  • shot weight

‘Modern’ Style Espresso

Suitable for light to medium-light coffees that have brighter acidity. The longer ratio will allow a more open profile for clarity to push more fruit-forward sweetness and offer a more delicate mouthfeel.

18 grams IN

  • dry weight (or grounds weight)

40-45 grams OUT

  • shot weight

Shot Times

27 seconds +/- 5s

  • Target shot time (from the time you start the shot until the desired shot weight is achieved)
  • There can be a large variance depending on the type of coffee and desired taste outcome
  • Generally, control shot times by adjusting the grind size (more coarse for faster shot time, more fine for longer shot times)

Milk Steaming

We are not able to say or show it any better than these pros, so check out these videos on milk steaming:


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