Mastering the Art of Pulling Espresso Shots at Home: A Quick Guide to Perfecting Your Morning Cup

Posted by Ashley Fleming on

If you’re just starting out your home- barista journey or looking for some tips and tricks to elevate your espresso game, you’ve come to the right place. While every espresso machine is different and every person has their own preference when it comes to desired taste, these simple steps will help you on your way to becoming an at home barista pro.

When you visit a Pachamama Café, you’ll find our Five Sisters blend as our espresso staple for its perfectly balanced blend to deliver a creamy and sweet espresso with just the right roundness of fruit forward flavors. 


Our standard recipe for espresso, and what we recommend for a starting point for home espresso, is an 18.5g dose and a 37g yield. This is a 1:2 brew ratio, that means you’ll weigh out 18.5 grams of ground coffee to extract 37g of liquid espresso out. 

Important parameters:

  • Brew Ratio: Maintain a brew ratio of approximately 1:2 (dose to yield) for a balanced flavor profile. Whether you use 18.5 grams of coffee or adjust to more or less, keep in mind that your final weight should be double your dry weight.
  • Water Temperature: Use water at around 200-203°F (93-95°C) for optimal extraction.
  • Grind Size: Use a medium-fine grind to achieve balanced extraction. You’ll have to find just the right grind size for your machine, where the water is not moving through the grounds too quickly or too slowly.
  • Tamping Pressure: Apply consistent and firm tamping pressure to ensure even extraction.
  • Brew Time: Aim for a total brew time of 25-30 seconds for a well-extracted shot. Note that this is ultimately impacted by both grind size and tamping pressure. 

Step by Step:

  1. Begin by weighing out 18.5 grams of coffee into your portafilter. 
  2. Level out the grounds and evenly tamp to remove air pockets throughout the grounds. 
    • You want to only apply enough pressure to fill in the gaps and not press too hard where no water can run through and saturate the grounds.
    1. Lock your portafilter into your group head, get your espresso cup and scale ready. 
    2. Start the preinfusion stage for about 5 seconds to saturate the grounds evenly. barista using Mahlkonig grinder to weigh out 18.5 grams of coffee for espresso shot barista leveling and tamping coffee in portafilter for espresso shot Espresso shot pulling on Slayer Espresso Machine 
    3. Begin to pull your shot until you have ~37 grams of espresso
      • note : make sure you are aiming to get your brew time between 25-30 seconds. If it is outside that parameter it may be too sour or too bitter.
      1. Once you have your shot pulled, enjoy plain or add in your choice of steamed milk, sweeteners etc and enjoy!

      barista pouring latte art into gibraltar Espresso shot man drinking espresso shot

      Other tips:

      • Espresso Cup: Serve the shot in a preheated espresso cup to maintain temperature.
      • Taste: Adjust grind size and extraction time to achieve a balanced shot with desirable sweetness, acidity, and body. If too bitter, grind coarser and if too sour, grind finer.

      Keep in mind that individual preferences may vary, so feel free to experiment with different parameters to find the perfect balance that suits your taste preferences and the specific coffee beans you are using. Enjoy your espresso!

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