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How to Make Espresso Coffee

Espresso is a complex and interesting drink. It is considered one of the most fastidious in terms of brewing conditions and barista skills. To prepare a tasty espresso, you need to follow certain rules. It is important to carefully choose the beans, check the cleanliness of the equipment, water pressure, preparation time, etc.
Let's talk about how to make espresso coffee in details.

Coffee variety selection

For espresso, it is recommended using specially designed for espresso blends or single varieties. They are roasted differently than for alternative brewing methods: to unique roast profiles and a little darker. We do not recommend choosing a light roast that is used for alternative brewing methods. In espresso, such coffee will turn out to be too acidic and watery.

Equipment cleanliness

The equipment must be clean - this is one of the most important factors that affect the taste of espresso. The coffee group, dispersion mesh, basket, holder and coffee grinder get dirty quickly. So you need to regularly clean the coffee machine and coffee grinder.

We recommend cleaning the surface of the holder surface and the dispersion mesh after 50 espresso shots. The grinder can be cleaned daily with a regular brush and monthly with cleaning products.

Water pressure

The best option for water pressure in the coffee machine is 8.2-9 atmospheres. It must be set up initially and follow the pressure gauge so that it does not go astray. To do this, you need to make a coffee tablet, insert the holder into the group and turn on the strait. At this point, you need to monitor the pressure and adjust if necessary. The adjustment itself is different for each coffee machine.

However, delicious espresso can be prepared at both lower and higher pressures. But you need to understand what processes occur during extraction in order to correctly compensate for some changes by others.

Water temperature

The choice of water temperature depends on the particular type of coffee and the degree of roast. For instance, light roasted coffee is prepared at 93-95 °C, medium roast – 91-93 °C, dark roast – at 89-91 °C. For espresso, it is usually 93 °C. Unlike alternative brewing methods, where water temperature is variable, in espresso it is adjusted once for a long time.

Some espresso machines are not equipped with a temperature fine-tuning function, as they have only one boiler with a heat exchanger. In this case, focus on taste: if the coffee is too acidic, raise the temperature, if it is too bitter, lower it.

Coffee distribution and tempering

Under pressure, water is always looking for the easiest way to get through the coffee tablet. That is why, in order for the extraction to proceed correctly and evenly, the coffee must be evenly distributed in the basket.
When the grinder does not have the newest burrs or their diameter is not too large, coffee lumps form during grinding. You should break them up with a coffee leveler or a toothpick. Use circular motions to break up any lumps and evenly distribute the coffee in the basket.

After distributing the coffee, you need to tamp it down with medium force. Try to temper it evenly, at a right angle. Otherwise, the coffee tablet will be skewed, and water will grab its surface unevenly.

After tempering, you need to remove the remnants of ground coffee from the edges of the basket and holder.


After tempering, the holder is inserted into the coffee group and the brew is turned on.

When using a coffee machine with a heat exchanger, before installing the holder, you need to spill 50–100 ml of water. Usually at this time there is boiling water with a hiss, as soon as the hiss stops, you can prepare espresso.

After installing the holder in the coffee machine, you must immediately turn on the strait. As a rule, espresso is prepared in 23-30 seconds from the moment the pump is turned on to when it is turned off.

The weight of the finished drink should be approximately 1.8-2.2 times greater than the dosage. For example, if you use a dosage of ground coffee of 18 grams, the approximate weight of a double espresso should be 32-40 grams. If the espresso is made faster, you need to make the grind finer, if slower – coarser. You need to change the degree of grinding gradually.

Standard: 36 gram espresso made with 18 grams of ground coffee in 27 seconds at 93 °C.

After that you can adjust the settings as described above.

Taste setting

It is recommended to change only one parameter at a time during flavor adjustment. That is, if you change the grind, leave the dosage and brewing time unchanged.

If the coffee is too bitter:

  • reduce the output factor (below two);
  • reduce the temperature;
  • reduce extraction time.
If there is a lot of acidity:
  • increase the output factor (above two);
  • increase the temperature;
  • increase the extraction time.

These methods of flavor adjustment help to bring out the taste that is laid down by the variety, processing and roaster.

Mr. Viet produces real Vietnamese coffee. Mr. Viet coffee beans are expertly roasted in Dalat region, Vietnam. We carefully select and control coffee roasting in order to get tasty and balanced coffee. We produce it in accordance with all the traditions of Vietnam. Follow us to learn more about coffee and Vietnamese coffee culture!

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