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How to make espresso

Espresso is a delicious coffee that can be brewed at home. It's also one of the most complicated to brew, so it's helpful to have an expert guide you through the process. If this is your first time brewing espresso, understand that perfecting your espresso shot takes time and practice - even professional baristas are constantly improving their skills. Follow these steps and you will have a great starting point to begin working on your perfect espresso cup.

What you’ll need to make espresso

We use 18 to 19g of coffee to brew a 36g to 40g espresso cup. 

  • Espresso machine
  • Coffee grinder (burr grinders preferred)
  • Tamper
  • Specialty coffee from a local coffee roaster (18-19 grams)
  • Timer
  • Scale

How to make espresso at home

  1. Grind and dose coffee
    Pick your favourite whole beans from your favourite coffee store and grind them moments before making your espresso for peak flavour. Aim for a fine grind that resembles confectioner’s sugar in size. If you need help finding your perfect grind size, check our grind size guide. You can also buy Portfolio coffee ground for espresso in case you do not have access to a coffee grinder.
  2. Remove the portafilter. Wipe it clean and dry out the basket. Zero out the scale and grind about 18-19g of coffee. Tap it a few times to settle it and distribute the coffee evenly with your finger.
  3. Tamp the portafilter until it feels like the coffee is pushing back and set it aside. Make sure your coffee bed is level to avoid channeling (uneven extraction).
  4. Prep the machine
    Pass water through the grouphead to make sure everything is hot, then lock the portafilter into place.
  5. Pull a shot
    Engage the grouphead and start the timer. Place a cup under portafilter and watch the espresso for a steady stream. The entire extraction should take about 23-28 seconds to brew. If it takes too much longer or is pulling too slowly, try a coarser grind. If it brews too quickly, try a finer grind.
  6. Serve and enjoy

What are the best coffees for espresso?

Fazenda Cachoeira

Notes of chocolate and caramel, clean citrus, medium to low acidity, dense body, and a long aftertaste.

Equilibrio blend

Well-balanced, has notes of chocolate, caramel and cashew with a light floral finish.

Fazenda Eldorado

Full-bodied, has low-medium acidity, notes of red fruits cherry-like, hints of hazelnut and a long, chocolate aftertaste.

Fazenda Sucuri

Notes of dark chocolate, silky, heavy body, low acidity, and long aftertaste.


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