espresso extraction 101

Espresso Extraction 101 – Step By Step Guide

  • Purge the group head by turning it on for 2-3 seconds to allow old grinds to be removed from the filter of the group head.
  • Clean out the group handle of any old coffee grinds still in the porter filter basket. This will ensure a fresh puck to extract espresso from.
  • Dose coffee as per your Brew Recipe*. If this is the first pour of the day, waste the first dose as it will be stale from being already ground and caught in the coffee shoot from a previous dose.
  • Tap group handle on the tamper mat to bang down and even out the coffee dose into the basket. (There’s a bunch of modern tools used to distribute coffee more evenly, but simple tapping to settle the grinds will do the job.)
  • Seat the edge of the group handle on the bench with the spout off the edge. This provides a stronger base to tamp.
  • Tamp hard with your shoulder. Forcing pressure down rather than pushing down with you hand provides a more even tamp, which results in an even extraction. Once the dose has been firmly and evenly tampered it’s time to extract!
  • Preheat the group head by turning it on for 2-3 seconds – this preheating warms up the group head and will allow a better extraction process.
  • Start your pour and watch for any warning signs. A good and even extraction should take roughly 4-5 seconds before the espresso stream is visible from the spout. This should look like a “mouse-tail”. A good extraction should take roughly 30 seconds to complete and the pour should start dark brown and end with a latte coloured stream.
  • Note^ If the grind is too fine, the pour will “spit” or “dribble” rather than pour consistently. If the grind is too coarse, the pour will gush and bubble and the colour will be too light from the get go.
  • Once extraction is complete, purge the group head by turning it on for another 2-3 seconds to allow old grinds to be removed from the filter of the group head.

Brew Recipe* Zentveld’s standard espresso 1:2 ratio brew recipe – 23G dose / 47G yield / 30 seconds extraction time.

Note^ A common mistake is changing the grind and then pulling another shot right away. You want to make sure the old grind is no longer in the grinder chamber. Dose 2 shots and waste to make sure you’re up to the current grind changes. This will give you an accurate reading on your change. The term “Chasing Your Tail” is in reference to making a change and then testing it too early and then making another change before you get to the first change you made. 

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