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How to Make Espresso

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 single shot or double shot espresso 1x


Here’s how to make espresso at home! Make 1 or 2 espresso shots with an espresso machine, or opt for one of the listed alternate methods.




*Note: The method below works for all countertop espresso machines. Or follow these alternative methods: 1. Use a Portable Espresso Machine per the package instructions. 2. Make French Press Espresso 3. Make Moka Pot Coffee. 4. Make Aeropress Espresso.

  1. Grind the coffee: Grind the coffee until it’s very fine ground. Different roasts and brands of beans will require a different grind for your machine. You may need to do a few test runs to get it dialed in just right.
  2. Pack and tamp the coffee grounds: Add the coffee grounds to the espresso basket (portafilter) until it’s slightly heaping over the top. Use the tamper to press the grounds evenly into the portafilter, pressing very firmly until it is fully compressed. It’s useful to have something to press onto for tamping so that you don’t damage the counter or filter. Place the portafilter on a folded towel before tamping, or the best tool is the ledge of a knock box (you can also use it to discard the used grounds). It’s important for the coffee grounds to be as even and straight as possible to get the best espresso shot.
  3. Pull the shot: Place the portafilter in the espresso machine and press the button to pull the shot. Most home espresso machines have an automatic option for this. A well-pulled shot will last around 25 to 30 seconds and have deep espresso flavor with a nice crema (foamy topping).
  4. Consider any adjustments: It takes a while to hone in the grind of the coffee and the tamping process. Don’t worry if it’s not exactly right the first time! If you find that the shot is watery, use slightly more coffee grounds or use a finer grind on the coffee. If the shot takes longer than 30 seconds, reduce the amount of coffee grounds or use a coarser grind on the coffee.