Alma Coffee Espresso Brew Guide

Espresso Brew Guide

  • One Size Does Not Fit All

    Perfecting espresso can vary on so many different variables. Please keep in mind that our exact procedures work with our equipment but keeping in mind your specific equipment and water minerality can drastically change the extraction. Be patient with yourself and keep in mind the perfect extraction is possible with any coffee with patience and manipulation of various variables.

  • In Our Cafe

    We generally do the following for a double shot of espresso and dial in/adjust throughout the day as the weather/humidity changes:

    • Starting point of 18.5 grams of espresso ground coffee
    • 55 grams of espresso out (a 1:3 ratio)
    • Extraction time is around 29 seconds
    • We use the standard 9 bars of pressure, 206 degree water
  • Supplies Needed:

    • Espresso Machine
    • Corresponding Espresso Machine Equipment (i.e. portafilter, leveler, tamper, etc...)
    • Espresso Grinder. We can definitely grind this for you but it is not the same. Part of the art in making espresso requires manipulation of grind size in order to perfect an extraction. You will not be able to manipulate the variable of grind size without an espresso grinder
    • Scale


    2oz of Espresso

  • Instructions:

    1. Turn on your espresso machine and ensure the machine is warmed up completely before beginning. Your portafilter(s) should be in the machine and therefore warming up along with the machine
    2. Take your portafilter out of the machine and place it on your scale. Tare the scale
    3. Place the portafilter into the espresso grinder and put 18.5 grams of coffee into the basket. Weigh the portafilter to ensure you have 18.5 grams
    4. Use your leveler to level the coffee grounds inside the portafiler
    5. Use your tamper to tamp the coffee grounds inside the portafilter. You should be applying about 30 pounds of pressure with each tamp. Make sure your tamp stays consistent with each tamp
    6. Use your hand to wipe away any grounds around the portafilter to ensure a clean portafiler rim
    7. Purge the espresso machine group head
    8. Insert the portafilter into the group head and immediately start your extraction. Espresso will begin to extract in about 4-5 seconds which is sufficient time for you to put your cup underneath the spouts to collect the espresso
    9. Your extraction time should be between 22 - 30 seconds. If you have an automatic machine, it will turn off for you, if you have a manual machine, you will need to time this yourself from the moment you begin the extraction
    10. Once extraction is complete, swirl your espresso and take two sips to evaluate. Refer to our underextraction and overextraction descriptions below to see how to adjust
    11. Clean out the grounds in your portafilter until there is no visible coffee residue and purge your machine
    12. Repeat steps 3 through 10 with adjustments as needed until you get a perfect balance of sweetness, bitterness, and acidity
  • Tips and Adjustments:

    • If you find your espresso is salty, acidic, or sour then it is an underextraction. Try adding more coffee to your portafilter or fining up your grind size.
    • If you find your espresso is burnt, bitter, or too strong then it is an overextraction. Try using less coffee in the portafilter or coarsening up your grind size.
    • We recommend manipulating quantity in the portafiler before grind size simply because it is easier. If you see the center indent in the espresso puck from the group head then you should not be adding more coffee to the portafilter and should look to fine up your grind size instead. Alternatively, if you have a very watery and liquid espresso puck, you should not be using any less coffee and should look to coarsen your grind size instead.

Brew Up With...