1. Food

Video:Make the Perfect Espresso Shot

with Kenya Bovey

The espresso shot is the foundation of a huge number of coffee drinks. It's also delicious in its own right. See how to make the perfect espresso shot.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Food Videos
  • Coffee / Tea Videos

Transcript:Make the Perfect Espresso Shot

Hi, I'm Kenya Bovey from Joe in Manhattan, here for About.com, and today I will show you how to pull the perfect shot of espresso. I would like to make clear that espresso is a method of brewing; it is not a type of bean or a type of roast. It is high pressurized water being forced through a puck of finely ground coffee.

What You’ll Need

To pull the perfect shot of espresso you need a cup, for your shot, a tamper, and a dry towel.

Grind the Coffee

To begin you will knock out your old puck of espresso. You want to wipe out the sides and bottom of your porta-filter to make sure that there are no old grounds or water, moisture, sitting in the basket. We're going to grind coffee directly into the basket. Here at Joe we use 19-gram baskets and I know at home it's a 7 gram single shot basket and or a 14 gram double basket.

Distribute Coffee Grounds Evenly

You should grind enough coffee to have a small mound over the top of the porta-filter. And then you want to distribute these grounds. So you want your finger resting on both sides of the porta filter but not applying any pressure. You're going to want to distribute the coffee evenly as water is lazy and will take the path of least resistance.

Form Coffee Puck With Even Pressure

Once you have a level surface of coffee you're going to take your tamper in your hand. You want to hold it kind of like a fencing hold, so the side of your index finger rests on the bottom as well as the tip of your thumb and it should look like this. And you want the top of the tamper resting in the palm of your hand.

You want to keep your wrist straight throughout the tamping process. You would also, ideally, like to have your arm at a 90 degree angle to your body and squaring your hips up to the surface that you're tamping on. We want to apply 30 pounds of pressure down on your coffee, nicely and evenly. And, as you come up off of your puck you want to give a little twist to polish the puck and make sure there are no grounds on your tamper.

Pull the Shot

Now we have our puck, we're ready to go. You want to run some hot water through your group head to make sure that it's hot enough. So, that when you start pulling your shot you don't shock the espresso with a change in temperature. From the time you turn on your machine a perfect shot of espresso should take about 25 to 28 seconds to be fully extracted.

When to Stop

I want coffee to rain down after about 5 seconds of having my machine on. It should come together in one stream in about 7 to 9 seconds. I'm looking for a tapering tail of espresso. It should start fairly thick at the top and taper down to almost nothing at the bottom. I'm looking for very dark rich brown almost like warm honey at the beginning. At about 10 seconds it will become lighter, a little bit more tan. And, by the end of the extraction, by 25 to 28 seconds later, I'm going to have a very light, almost a yellow color.

Enjoy your shot of espresso. Thanks for watching. To learn more visit us on the Web at About.com.
About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.