Brewing Espresso: A Beginner’s Guide To Espresso

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Brewing Espresso

Everything you need to know to brew a perfect cup of Espresso.

De'Longhi EC680M Espresso, Stainless Steel, Metallic

Do you want to know how to brew an espresso? In this article, I’ll teach you how to brew a great espresso.

Espresso is a fully flavored, concentrated form of coffee. It’s brewed using an Espresso Machine that forces pressurized water through very finely ground coffee.

Once you get the hang of the recipe and get all the tools you need, it is only a matter of practice. Just like mastering any food recipe, you need to have patience and practice when brewing Espresso. 

If you are not a coffee aficionado, you might not know that Espresso is the base for every non-filter coffee. This means it is the starting point for almost all other coffee brews such as Lattes, Flat Whites, and Cappuccinos.

Espresso is often described as well as served using the term shots.  

Espresso Coffee Over the Years

Coffee beans were traded across the globe by merchants as early as the 1600s. But the Espresso is a fairly new invention. It grew in popularity back in the 20th Century. 

Espresso was invented so that people did not have to wait five minutes for a cup of delicious coffee. In 1901, during the peak of the Industrial Revolution, an Italian inventor came up with an idea for the Espresso machine.

Later on, Luigi Bezzara made a patent for a coffee machine that used group-heads that could be clamped with coffee ground-filled portafilters. Later an engineer, Desidero Pavoni, bought the patent from Luigi, and via sales, and marketing expertise, revolutionized the way we drink coffee forever. 

What You Need To Make A Espresso Shot

Ground Coffee – The best way to get a perfect cup of espresso is with freshly ground coffee. It’s worth the time and effort! Don’t just settle for any old beans; experiment until you find your favorite flavor. The key lies in using finely-ground coffee that isn’t too coarsely ground either – as long as it tastes good to YOU. There are no rules for making an Espresso at home or from someone else who knows what they’re doing without sacrificing quality over quantity!.

The delightful blend of fresh grounds combined with rich flavors will make this process well worth the wait every single time

Coffee For brewing espresso

Measuring cup – A measuring cup is an essential tool for any kitchen. But, unless you’re following the same recipe over and over again, a natural inclination would be to eyeball it or just use your hands.

brewing espresso

Espresso Machine

Espresso is an art form. You can’t just make it with a cup of coffee and some hot water, you need to have the right equipment for your desired outcome: thick or creamy foamy milk, perfectly roasted beans that are ground fine enough but not too coarse like sandpaper–it’s all in finding what machine will suit each person best.

brewing espresso


Affiliate LinkDark roast coffee beans are ideal for brewing Espresso. Always make sure you open the bag right before you brew espresso. Keeping the bag in the open will turn the coffee grounds stale. Also, always grind a fresh batch before brewing I recommend using a Affiliate LinkBurr Grinder to grind your coffee.

See Our Full Review Of the Boly Burr Grinder If You’re Looking For A Great Grinder.

Espresso Brewing Videos

The following videos will help explain the espresso brewing process.

Source – Whole Latte Love
Source – Joshua Weissman

How To Brew An Espresso 

Clean your Portafilter – The importance of cleaning your Portafilter before brewing Espresso cannot be overstated. Once the Portafilter is thoroughly cleaned, finely ground coffee beans should then be loaded into it and tamped down to create a seal at the top; this will ensure that when you start pulling shots of espresso from its spouts later on.

Purge the Group Head with Hot Water – Purge your group head with hot water. The purpose of purging the group head is to remove any old coffee ground. Also, using hot water heats the group head before you start brewing Espresso. 

Use The Right Amount of Coffee – If you are using an On-Demand Grinder, you only need to push a button to get the desired amount of coffee. If you do not have a grinder, and if you are using coffee ground that you bought from the store, use a Affiliate Linkkitchen scale instead. The only way to ensure your extraction will be perfect is to take the right amount of coffee. As a rule of thumb, if you want to brew two shots of Espresso, you will need 18-21 grams of coffee. 

Spread Out the Coffee ground in the Portafilter – If you are using an electric grinder, the coffee dosage will take the shape of a pyramid as they come out of the nozzle. This means some parts of the Portafilter will have more coffee, and some will have less. But you must distribute the coffee grounds evenly and consistently before you start tamping. Use your fingers to spread out the coffee grounds. Place your finger horizontally on top of the Portafilter, and do a few alternative swipes. If you are an aspiring professional barista, get a distribution tool from the market. 

Tamp the Coffee Ground evenly – Now that you have the right dosage of coffee, move on to tamping. The purpose of tamping is to get out air pockets from the coffee puck. After the tamping is complete, the coffee ground will sit level on the Portafilter. How do you know when to stop? Well, the rule of thumb is to reach a point when you cannot go down, no matter how hard you push the coffee grounds. 

Insert the Portafilter into the Group Head – Now that the Group Head is heated and the Portafilter is also ready, do not waste any time. Quickly insert the Portafilter into the Group Head. If you make any delays while doing so, the heat from the Group Head might burn the surface of the coffee ground. 

Check the Brew Time and Yield – Whether you are using a mechanical or a volumetric espresso machine, you need to be aware of the brew time and yield. The time and yield will depend on the dosage and grind size you are using. The brewing will start with a slow drip and eventually turn into an even stream. After 30 seconds, the brewing will end. During that time, the brew will start to thicken and turn yellow. You should stop the brew as soon as this starts to happen. 


If you want a nice cup of Espresso, you should be equally serious about how it’s served. If following the steps above has made your coffee perfect and delicious for espresso, then this is where it all counts: milk. You can also add any dairy-related beverage or creamer to make that gorgeous drink even more special!

Recommended Espresso Machines

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES870XL
Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Programmable Coffee Maker with Automatic Milk Frother and 15-Bar Pump, Stainless Steel
Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Steam Wand, Stainless
DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Black
BREVILLE BES870XL Barista Express
MR. COFFEE Cafe Barista
DE'LONGHI 15 Bar Pump Espresso Machine
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES870XL
BREVILLE BES870XL Barista Express
Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Programmable Coffee Maker with Automatic Milk Frother and 15-Bar Pump, Stainless Steel
MR. COFFEE Cafe Barista
Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Steam Wand, Stainless
DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Black
DE'LONGHI 15 Bar Pump Espresso Machine

Last update on 2023-02-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Cleaning the Espresso machine is a tedious task, but it’s so worth it. The next time you’re making your favorite drink and find yourself wondering how to clean an espresso machine – don’t worry about it!

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