There’s just something about espresso that makes for a totally unique experience.  Flavours and aromas are intensified, and yet the texture is velvety and smooth.  Add milk (dairy or otherwise) and the attributes of the coffee seem to open up, and you discover flavours and aromas you didn’t even realize were there. Finding the right espresso recipe is up to you, but here’s a simple recipe to get you started.

What you’ll need

  • 1x Espresso Machine
  • 1x Grinder
  • 1x Scale
  • 1x Tamper
  • 20 g of coffee

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Assemble everything you’ll need from the list above and turn on your machine
  2. Rinse your portafilter and dry it with a soft towel
  3. Weigh out 20 g of coffee and grind it at a fine setting (enough that the coffee will clump when you pinch it, but not as fine as powder)
  4. Pour in the freshly ground coffee and distribute it evenly with a distributor tool (optional) or with your hand
  5. Apply steady pressure to the even bed of coffee using your tamper, making sure the pressure is applied in a level way, so your coffee bed is not angled towards any one side. Don’t be afraid to tamp hard; when in doubt, it’s better to apply more pressure than too little
  6. Place the portafilter in the machine, and your cup on a small scale
  7. Pull the shot of espresso aiming for an output of approximately 35-40 g in 30-40 seconds for a rich, velvety shot or 20-30 seconds for a brighter and smoother shot
  8. Enjoy it straight or steam some milk to make a latte or cappuccino!
pulled espresso shot from a bottomless portafilter


As noted above, this recipe is intended to get you started, but where you take it from there is up to you.  Here are a few variables you can play with to dial in your espresso.

  • Too bitter? Try grinding coarser or decreasing your dose by no more than a gram at a time. 
  • Too weak? Try increasing the amount of coffee relative to the final output, or actually decreasing the output for a more concentrated cup (i.e., a ristretto)
  • Too sour or strong? Try the opposite! As always, there are many variables to play with, but these are some suggestions to get you started.  Enjoy!