Creamy, fragrant and intense. Black espresso or cafe solo is possibly the most popular style of drinking coffee around here, and certainly one of our favourite ways of brewing our single origins.
Brewing a great espresso is not confined to cafes anymore; these days, any appliance shop offers a decent range of home machines, even on a low budget. Whether you’re an all-time espresso fan or a humble beginner, this recipe will help you bring out the best of our single origins.
Here’s our step-by-step guide (or jump onto this guide’s Frequently Asked Questions):
• 20g of single origin beans✎
ℹ︎: If you don’t have a grinder, that’s OK! You can always use pre-ground coffee, though we recommend freshly ground because it does elevate the flavour of each brew.
✎: If you prefer to drink your espresso with milk and you’re using any of our blends or decaf, we suggest you follow our guide on how to brew espresso (blends).
Grind 20 grams of coffee beans and place them into your basket.
Some home coffee machine baskets don’t take this amount. If this is your case, you can start with what fits most comfortably in your basket and take note of the dose’s net weight.
Distribute into an even surface and tamp.
When you tamp the coffee into the basket, never do it too hard, or you will likely press it down irregularly. Push it down until you feel a natural resistance. Double-check that the final surface is flat.
Place the portafilter in the group head and start the shot. We aim for 60-65 grams of espresso coffee out during 24-28 seconds.
If your dose was different from our recipe, now is the time to use the dose value you noted and do some calculations (see notes below).
Notes & tips
Most baristas talk about their espresso recipes in this way. For example, the recipe we went through above may be simplified to 20:60:26 (20g of ground coffee (dose) : 60g of espresso brew out (yield) : 26 seconds total brew time). These are the parameters we play with to achieve the espresso we dream of.
Measure, taste, adjust, repeat.
Measuring the parameters above is essential for understanding our brewing process and introducing changes. That’s why having scales and a timer is essential in your journey towards delicious and consistent coffee. That being said, you can brew without them, but making an awesome coffee may just be luck of the draw.
Scale it up or down using a 1:3 dose:yield ratio.
This is our general recommendation for brewing single origin espressos. For example, if your dose is 19g, the target yield will be 57g (3 times the dose).
The total brew time is always 24-28 seconds.
If it extracts under that time (shorter), and it tastes sour and salty, grind the coffee finer. If it extracts over that time (longer), and it tastes ashy and rough, grind the coffee coarser.
Each home grinder is different; play around.
The best results will be achieved with freshly ground coffee, but it’s hard to give exact size recommendations because each home grinder is different. We suggest you play around and keep an eye on the parameters above until you find your perfect number.