How To Make Perfect Espresso at Home


Follow along with Griffin as he brings you through the steps, concepts, and good habits that will help you make delicious espresso at home. Learning how to properly distribute and tamp will give you more consistent shots while knowing what to look for when brewing will make sure you’re dialed-in and following a recipe.
For over a century, espresso has been used by billions of people around the world as a quick way of getting their coffee fix. The secret to espresso’s speed is in the use of high pressure and very finely ground coffee.

Tools used in the video:
Breville Barista Pro
Acaia Pearl & Lunar Scales
Timbertrain Coffee

Recipe used in the video:
18g Dose – 39g Yield – 32 Seconds

If you have any questions or want to try the coffee that was used, visit our website:



-Today we are going to make some coffee and as we go along we’ll cover everything you need to know to get you making great espresso drinks at home.

-When you’re making espresso manually it can sometimes be tricky to get right, but it’s worth all the trouble.


-First, you’ll need an espresso machine and a grinder. Today I’m using the Breville Barista Touch which has a built-in grinder but this knowledge will carry through to any other manual machine with pretty much any espresso grinder.

-And in this machine, I’m using filtered water. Having good water is very important as it directly affects the taste of the coffee

-You also need a tamper, most espresso machines come with one in some form.

-I also have a scale. Any kitchen scale will work but having a small one you can fit under your espresso machine is a big bonus. This just helps us keep all our brews consistent.

-A shot glass or cup for the coffee

-A timer.

-Some fresh coffee. Today I’m using caliber, a delicious coffee for espresso that works really well by itself or in milk drinks.

-Finally, a cloth to help keep everything clean.


-When we start talking about brewing espresso you’ll often hear the word recipe used. This just means the parameters that were used for brewing. Today I’m going to bring you through the recipe I would use for brewing caliber at home.


-Before we jump in, I’ll quickly go over some of the vocabularies we’ll use when brewing. First on the espresso machine; we call this the portafilter and it holds the basket, there’s the grouphead and in there is the shower screen. And of course, the tamper. When talking about parameters you often hear the words “dose” and “yield”. Dose means how much ground coffee is going into the basket. Yield means how much liquid or espresso is coming out. For example, our recipe today is going to be an 18g does, with a 40g yield and that will happen in about 29s.

Brewing Method

-So, let’s get started.

  • First, we’ll grab our portafilter. It’s good to keep the portafilter warm so that it doesn’t cause the temperature to fluctuate when we brew. Usually, the grouphead will heat it up but you can also run it under hot water to get the metal hot. Next, we wipe it down just to make sure it’s clean and dry.
  • Then we can put it on our scale and tare, then grind our coffee. I’m using grind size #4 on this Breville. And again, if we’re following the recipe we’re trying to get an 18g dose in this basket. We can be off by .2g or so. There, perfect.
  • Next is distribution. We want to make this mound flat but if we just push it around it’s just going to move the top layer and create air pockets lower down that will affect the brew. So what I’m going to do is use the side of my hand to tap and shake the coffee flat. Once it’s close, we can get out the tamper. Now a lot of people make tamping more difficult than it needs to be, all you need to do is compact the coffee, twisting, spinning, or tamping doesn’t make better espresso. I use my fingers to make sure that I’m pressing flat and then I simply shift my weight over. A precise weight pressure isn’t as important as just making sure you’re consistent each time.
  • Now that we’ve tamped I like to dust off the portafilter. And before we put it in the machine, I’m going to let some water run through. This helps clean the screen if there’s any coffee left from the last brew and it helps to heat it up.
  • Finally, we can put it in and start brewing. I’m putting a scale underneath the cup so we can track out “Yield”, the weight coming out.

-This machine has a built-in pre-infusion, so for the first 10 or so seconds, no coffee is going to come out. What’s happening is that water is beginning to pool on top of the coffee, saturating the bed and allowing it to release some of the C02 it produced when roasting, and this is done before our full brew pressure. After about 10s it reaches the full pressure, about 8-9 bars, and coffee begins to come out.

-You can tell a lot about the extraction from how the coffee comes out. If it starts gushing out quickly, you immediately know you’ve ground too fine. If nothing comes out or it’s only dripping, you know you’ve ground too fine. Espresso is all about finding this balance. What we’re looking for is a nice even stream of coffee.

-I’m watching the weight to tell me when to stop my shot. So we’ll stop it there. Right about 29s.

-If your shot is faster than 29/30s, you’ve ground too coarse and you’ve under-extracted; this causes espresso to be sour, salty, watery, and sharp with little sweetness.

-If your shot is much slower than the recipe at around 35s, you’ve ground too fine and it’s been over-extracted. This causes the shot to be bitter, astringent, dry, and papery with a long aftertaste that stains your tongue

-If your shot pulls at the same time as the recipe then you’ve nailed it! The flavours will pop, it will have a good balance and lots of sweetness.

Creating your own recipe

-If you’re looking to start creating your own recipes, the best place to start is with what people call the 2:1 ratio. Meaning your yield should be roughly 2x your dose. For example, if I use 18g dose, I will pull the shot to 36g yield. And I often aim for 30s at the start but you can adjust these parameters as you taste the coffee. Maybe 30s is too long for your coffee, it makes it bitter and dry, then you can coarsen your grind to make it flow faster. Maybe 36g is a little too strong in your drink? You can increase the yield to make it less strong but bring out more flavour.

-Espresso is all about customizing it so it tastes best for you.


Now if you want to learn about how to make great milk drinks, please watch our milk steaming video.


Finally, enjoy.