Perfect Espresso Extraction

An overview of achieving perfect espresso extraction every time

Extraction Variables

There are three variables involved in achieving perfect espresso extraction:


  • DOSE
  • TAMP


We’ll walk you through these variables to make sure you understand exactly how to produce great tasting shots of Caffé D’arte espresso consistently. All information assumes use of a dual-spout portafilter, producing a double shot (two shots).


Proper extraction requires 25-30 seconds, and should produce two (2) 3/4 – 1 oz shots.


DOSE – The amount of coffee dispensed into the portafilter.
  • Always grind coffee fresh. The coffee grinds will begin to stale in about ten minutes.
  • Deposit approximately 16 to 18 grams of coffee into your portafilter basket. This amount of coffee (for a double shot) will result in a sweet, full bodied flavor.
  • Make sure dose amount is consistent every time.


TAMP – Application of pressure to coffee grounds to ensure even extraction.
  • Using your dominant hand, hold tamper like you would a doorknob.
  • Place tamper evenly in portafilter on the surface of the grounds.
  • Apply solid, even pressure to the grounds while keeping your wrist straight, elbow at a 90 degree angle and forearm parallel to your body.
  • Lift tamper straight out of portafilter.
  • Apply one final tamp to seal up any loose grounds.
  • Make sure your tamping pressure is consistent every time.
  • Clean feet and wings of excess grounds.


GRIND SIZE – How coarse or fine the coffee is being ground.
  • Grind size is the only variable that should be changed in order to perfect speed of extraction.
  • The coarser the grind – the faster the extraction.
  • The finer the grind – the slower the extraction.
  • Adjust the grind as needed to ensure that extraction takes place within the 25-30 second timeframe.
  • There are many variables that can affect the grind, such as weather, temperature, and moisture in the air. It is not unusual to need to adjust multiple times per shift.
  • Be sure to always time extraction so you know when adjustments are necessary.


Pulling Shots

  • Purge the grouphead by letting some water release. This will help bring the water to optimal brewing temperature.
  • Carefully place the portafilter securely inside of the grouphead.
  • Turn on grouphead water immediately to begin extraction.
  • Coffee should never sit inside the grouphead. The temperature of the group head will cause the grinds to burn, resulting in off-flavored shots.


Signs of Proper Extraction

  • Espresso should start to drip slowly around 5 to 7 seconds. (This may vary between machines.)
  • Initial color of the créma should be dark brown like molasses.
  • Drip will turn into a slow and steady stream; no thicker than cooked spaghetti.
  • The créma should now be turning golden brown like caramel, slowly shifting to a more blonde color.
  • As the blonde color turns light and the stream begins to thin out, extraction is complete.
  • This process should take 25-30 seconds and result in a volume of ¾ ounce to 1 ounce of espresso, with lots of thick, full-bodied crema on top.


Now you should be able to understand the variables involved in producing amazing shots of espresso every time. You will love the high-quality taste and complexity that comes from every shot of Caffé D’arte espresso - enjoy!