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How to brew a perfect espresso coffee

Nomen omen, destiny into a name, and espresso coffee is so called because, properly, it is to be freshly brewed and enjoyed in the special porcelain cup.

Espresso coffee is a special alchemy, the perfect marriage between art and science. To prepare it perfectly there are steps to follow that, combined with experience, will make of you a real coffee artist!

Coffee is also mostly composed of … water

Yes, coffee is also composed of 90% water. So it is an ingredient in its own right and it is essential to choose one that is suitable for extraction so one that is not too rich in minerals (i.e., too hard), but not too poor either.

A water that is “too heavy” and therefore rich in minerals does not have the capacity to absorb all the properties of the coffee.


The grinding of coffee beans is the first step to be taken to obtain a perfect espresso. It should be done at the time and should be adjusted according to the amount of moisture in the air. Since this is a complex evaluation, it is important to do a test extraction and correct it if necessary.

The 7 grams of tradition

Italian tradition teaches that the exact quantity to extract an espresso coffee is 7 grams of powder. This dose is doubled to extract a long coffee, and, of course, it is adjusted for cappuccino, caffe macchiato, and all other preparations.

The pressata: the artist’s touch

Pressing is the magic touch that makes your espresso coffee truly special. If it is not balanced, the risk is to get an under- or over-extracted coffee.

The extraction

Even in this step there are guidelines to follow in order to get a perfect espresso. In fact, an espresso should contain about 25 ml of coffee and should be extracted in 25 seconds, starting from the moment the pump is turned on.

A bit of trivia: for coffee to be perfect, the percolation should resemble a rat tail, or honey slipping, slowly, from a teaspoon.

The eye also wants its share

To tell if our espresso is really perfect, we can look at the result in the cup and check that it has the right color, which should be brownish – reddish brown with darker streaks. The cream on the surface should be firm, without air bubbles, in short, look inviting.

Now espresso coffee has no more secrets (or almost) but, if you want to know more because you are a Coffee Professional or a coffee enthusiast, subscribe to the newsletter to stay updated on our Coffee Making Courses done inside the Cofficina.