After a journey through tropical plantations, processing and roasting facilities, arriving safely onto your kitchen bench, it is time to transform that aromatic bag of coffee beans into a perfect espresso shot!

The four main techniques required when pulling an espresso shot include: Grind Dose Tamp Pour

When pulling the perfect espresso shot from restaurant espresso machines, you will want to preheat your cup and porta-filter by running plain hot water through the porta-filter into your cup without any espresso.

This will help to ensure that the temperature of your shot is maintained during the whole process.

Grind

The texture of the grind is very important to consider, as it can impact on the overall taste of the espresso.

When too fine, the shot will be over-extracted and may taste burnt and bitter, however, when too coarse, the shot will be under-extracted and taste very watery and weak with a lot of sour notes.

The ideal texture would be a similar grind to granulated sugar.

That being said, you should still experiment with your particular set up of grinder and espresso machine to determine your perfect texture.

Dose

The dosage refers to the amount of coffee grounds needed to put into the porta-filter for each espresso shot. The recommended dose for a ‘double shot’ should be between 14g – 18g, depending on personal preference and your espresso machine.

Tamp

The tamping of your espresso machine grinds ensures there is uniformity when extracting coffee by packing and leveling the grounds to make sure there is consistent and equal contact with water throughout the coffee.

To tamp, hold your elbow at a 90 degree angle, rest the porta-filter on a surface that is level and apply as much pressure you possibly can until the coffee has a polished and even look.

Pour

Finally, place the portafilter back into your restaurant espresso machine brew group before placing your preheated cup under it. It is important to time your shot, just whilst you are learning how to pull the perfect shot.

Initiate the pull when ready and watch carefully.

If the tamp, grind and dose are ideal, the first part of the brew will be dark at first, but slowly turn into a golden brown foam like mixture that flows down into the cup in a curly thin stream, which is known as the crema.

The brewing time could be anywhere between 20 and 30 seconds for the perfect shot, so if it is any longer or shorter, you may want to double check and adjust your tamp, dose and grind.

It is well worth your time to learn correctly and experiment in making the perfect shot from your own espresso machine to ensure that you’ll be able to create excellent espressos every time!