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How to Make Espresso Coffee

Espresso: What it is and why we love it

An espresso machine forces pressurised, nearly boiling water through ground coffee, in order to produce a strong cup of coffee, quickly. Espresso packs a lot of flavour into a small drink, and it suits milk-based coffees really well, so if you want a delicious cappuccino or latte, brewing espresso at home is the way to go!

What you'll need

– Espresso machine
– Espresso grinder
– Scales and tamper
– Timer
– Coffee (roasted for espresso)


      Makes one strong coffee, or two weak coffees
      – Ground coffee weight: 17-18g*
      – Beverage weight: 35-40g yield*
      – Brew (extraction) time: 28-32 seconds
      – Water temperature: 95°C
      – Grind size: fine

      *Note: Our recipe for espresso at Market Lane varies from coffee to coffee, but it is typically within these parameters. As each machine is different, start with an amount of coffee that comfortably fits in your basket. Weigh how much coffee this is, and then aim to brew an espresso that is double that weight. For example, if your portafilter fits 16g of coffee, aim for a beverage weight of 32g. 


        1. Prepare the portafilter

        • Remove portafilter. Clean and dry the basket.
        • Purge the group head by allowing hot water to flow through. This clears the screen of any built-up coffee grounds.
        • Place the portafilter on the scale and tare the scale to zero, then place the portafilter under the grinder to receive the coffee.

        2. Grind, dose and tamp

        • Grind enough coffee to fill your portafilter basket and then check the weight on the scales.
        • Make sure coffee is distributed evenly in the basket and use a tamper to press down the bed of coffee.
        • There should be 3-4mm of space at the top of the portafilter after tamping.

        3. Brew

        • Insert the portafilter into the espresso machine.
        • Place scales and cup below the portafilter, tare to zero and immediately start to brew.
        • Stop the shot when the espresso is roughly double the weight of the ground coffee in the basket.

        4. Serve

        • Serve your coffee immediately.
        • Remove portafilter and knock out spent grounds.
        • Pop the clean portafilter back into the machine to maintain its temperature.

        Hot tips

        Make sure the portafilter is hot when you start brewing. If it’s not, run some hot water through it to heat it up.

        The espresso shot should first come out as drips and be heavy and oily, and eventually become a steady stream.

        The taste should be clean and sweet, with balanced acidity. It should not be sour or excessively bitter.

        While you brew your espresso, set your timer to see how long the shot takes. Ideally, you want to brew a shot that is double your ground coffee weight in about 30 seconds.

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