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.


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 turns light and the stream begins to thin out, extraction is complete.
  • This process should take 25-30 seconds and have a volume of ¾ of an ounce to 1 ounce 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. Your customers (and you) will love the high-quality taste and complexity that comes from every shot of Caffé D’arte espresso.