How to Pull a Perfect Espresso Shot

The first step is to have your equipment ready.

February 15, 2019household
How to Pull a Perfect Espresso Shot

You've come to the right place if you're looking for a step-by-step guide to pulling your first perfect espresso shot.

Creating the perfect espresso shot can be broken down into five main steps:

Preparation, grind, dose, tamp and pour.

Each part is equally important, and you should pay attention to all five to ensure that you get the perfect shot at home.

The first step is to have your equipment ready.


You should have your espresso machine, grinder, tamper, electric scale, steaming pitcher, and shot glass or cup.

The equipment should be clean. If they're not, the time to clean them before you start brewing.

You need to gather your ingredients: coffee and water.

Your coffee should be whole bean coffee to ensure the freshness of the coffee.

Try to find beans which have been recently roasted for a fresher flavor. If you want the best espresso possible, make sure to invest in high-quality beans.

Your water should be filtered if possible. Always use fresh water in your espresso machine, so dump out any old water from the reservoir and add fresh water to it.

You should give your espresso machine time to warm up, turn it on and leave it to do so.

When the machine has had time to warm up, run some water through it and into your cup or shot glass.

This will maintain the temperature of your shot through the portafilter and into your receptacle.

You are now ready to grind your coffee.

Grinding the Beans

We always recommend grinding your beans only when you need them. This will give you the freshest ground coffee and the best-tasting espresso.

Grind Coffee Beans
Grind Coffee Beans

If you do not have a grinder at home, try to grind your coffee as close to using it as possible.

We recommend storing your ground coffee in the bag it comes in (if there is a one-way valve on the front).

The bag with a valve will allow the natural gasses which escape the coffee beans to also escape the bag while not allowing the oxygen in to break down the coffee quicker.

An airtight container is a good substitute if the bag does not come with a one-way valve. Store your coffee in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight.

Place your whole beans in your grinder and choose the correct setting.

You will likely start with the presets, but do not be afraid to experiment with other different settings.

Your ground coffee should be somewhere between salt and flour in their consistency.

Dosing Coffee Ground

Espresso Dose
Espresso Dose

Use your scales to dose out the correct amount of coffee.

Ideally between 7-12 grams is perfect for a single shot. Double it for a double shot.

Place the dose of coffee into the portafilter.

Tamping the Ground

Be sure to take your time and tamp the coffee correctly.

Place the tamper on top of the ground coffee, making sure that the tamper is even and horizontal. An uneven tamp will result in uneven extraction.

Apply around 40 pounds of pressure to the coffee using your shoulders and upper arms.

Using an Espresso Tamper Correctly
Using an Espresso Tamper Correctly

As you lift the tamper from the coffee, twist it a quarter turn to ensure that coffee does not cling to the bottom of the tamper.

Use the handle to knock any loose grounds from the edge of the portafilter to the center.

Tamp the coffee a second time. Use around half the pressure this time and give the tamper a quarter-turn as you are lifting it off to ensure no coffee clings to it.

Pour — Pulling the Perfect Shot

Portafilter in the Espresso Maker
Portafilter in the Espresso Maker

Place the portafilter back on the espresso machine.

Start the espresso maker and watch as the shot comes out.

Your shot should be between 20-30 seconds. If it is not, then you should change some of the variables (see our troubleshooting section), and start again.

How to Brew the Perfect Espresso
How to Brew the Perfect Espresso

Watch for an even consistency as the shot is being poured. It should flow evenly.

When the shot is in the glass, look for the heart, body, and crema.

Enjoy your shot of Perfect Espresso.