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Espresso: The Golden Rule

Espresso: The Golden Rule


Extracting espresso is a skill that requires practice, and awareness of the factors will ultimately impact the quality of the shots you pull. The following guidelines, deemed by some as the "Golden Rules" of espresso extraction, will provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge to begin your foray into the world of home espresso.

· Single Shot - 1-1.5 fluid ounces of water, pulled through approximately 7 grams of ground coffee in 20-25 seconds.

· Double Shot - 2-2.5 fluid ounces of water, pulled through approximately 14 grams of ground coffee in 20-25 seconds.

Important Factors

Dosing Your Coffee

The amount of ground coffee used will vary depending on the type of filter basket you are using (a single or a double shot). For a single image, 7-9 grams of ground coffee should be used. 14-16 grams of ground coffee should be used for a double shot. Please note that Gaggia commercial-style filter baskets are traditional to double-shot filter baskets that hold between 14-16 grams of ground coffee.


Tamping applies pressure to your ground coffee to compact it into an even puck. Tamping is essential in the extraction process, as it impacts the water flow rate through the grounds. A tamping pressure of approximately 30 lbs is ideal for extracting consistent, quality espresso shots.

Grind Fineness

Alongside tamping, the fineness of your grind is an essential factor in determining the flow rate of your water through the grinds. Unlike tamping pressure, which can be maintained at a constant 30 lbs, the fineness of your grind will need to be adjusted as your coffee ages. As the coffee gets older and dries out, it will need to be ground more finely to extract the same kinds of perfect, crema-rich shots. As a rule, the finer the coffee is ground, the slower the flow rate will be.

Extraction Time

As indicated above, the total time required to extract a single or double shot of espresso should be approximately 25 seconds. By timing your shots, you can observe whether your Shot is flowing too fast or too slow and adjust the other variables accordingly.

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