Skip to content


Dialling In your Espresso

by Matt Ellis 17 Dec 2023

Latte art 1


So... You've asked Santa for a fancy new Espresso Machine for Christmas - or maybe you've been (see what we did there) bought a bag of some Speciality Coffee and fancy your hand at being a Home Barista?


Where to start..? As always, the base, the foundation, the Espresso.  Come on, you seriously thought our first blog would be pouring Latte Art?

Lets learn to walk before we can run.  While it is ablate goals to get your latte art on point, we really need to nail dow that Espresso Extraction and get all those delicate flavours out of you beans.  This is where your Coffee Roasters spend their hours, tweaking each Roast process, choosing how to work a roast profile to suit their chosen origin, process, grow altitude and all that jazz.  


These fine tweaks at the roasting stage, all help make the final product into something unique, that no two coffee roasters would really ever produce the same coffee.


So, lets start.

How to Dail in Espresso 101 


  1. **Start with Quality Beans:**

   Choose freshly roasted, high-quality espresso beans. The grind size and extraction time depend on the beans' characteristics.

- Ideally, you'd buy your Beans From Scout Coffee Roasters (Naturally) However we' always recommend you buy from an independent company and ideally local.  We'll do another blog soon about the best Roasters in South Wales (purely IMO)


  1. **Invest in a Good Grinder:**

   Use a burr grinder to achieve a consistent espresso grind. Adjust the grind size based on your taste preferences and machine type.

- You can buy ground beans, the problem is, all machines have a different pressure output, so if we're going to grind your beans for you, chances are, you'll never really nail the extraction... too short, it's going to be acidic, too long... you're right in the bitter tones.  If you're buying a new machine, think about the grinder and just how far you can stretch the burnet to get both bits of kit. 


  1. **Preheat Your Espresso Machine:**

   Run a shot of hot water through the machine to ensure it's at the right temperature for brewing.


  1. **Dose and Distribute:**

   Use a scale to measure the coffee dose accurately. Distribute the grounds evenly in the portafilter and tamp with consistent pressure.


  1. **Time Your Shot:**

   Start the shot and time it from the moment you press the button until the liquid stops flowing. Aim for a 25-30 second extraction time.


  1. **Adjust Grind Size:**

   If the shot is too fast, adjust the grind finer; if it's too slow, go coarser. Make small changes and reassess until you reach the desired extraction time.

- For us, on a commercial machine, you want your grinds to be somewhere in between flour, and sand.  For the home machines with less pressure, you need this to be a little coarser, as a starting point.


  1. **Check Espresso Crema:**

   A good espresso has a rich, golden crema on top. If it's thin or uneven, adjust your grind size or tamping pressure.


  1. **Taste and Adjust:**

   Regularly taste your espresso. If it's too bitter, it might be over-extracted; if it's sour, it might be under-extracted. Adjust the grind size accordingly.


  1. **Temperature Matters:**

   Experiment with temperature settings. Generally, a temperature between 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C) is suitable for extracting flavors without burning the coffee.


  1. **Keep a Log:**

    Record your adjustments and results. This helps you fine-tune your process over time and understand the impact of changes.


  1. **Clean Your Equipment:**

    Regularly clean your espresso machine, grinder, and portafilter. Residue can affect the taste and consistency of your shots.


  1. **Enjoy the Learning Process:**

    Dialling in espresso is a skill that improves with practice. Embrace the learning curve and enjoy the journey of crafting the perfect cup.

Prev Post
Next Post
Someone recently bought a
[time] ago, from [location]

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Recently Viewed

Edit Option
Back In Stock Notification
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items

Before you leave...

Take 20% off your first order

20% off

Enter the code below at checkout to get 20% off your first order


Continue Shopping