Espresso pour and tamping

04 Feb Our Brew Guide for Espresso

Espresso is the most complex method and the coffee of choice in most cafes around the globe.

The art of mastering the extraction process is the key to a great espresso.

Whether you are a fully trained barista or a home espresso machine user, here is our guide to get the best coffee each and every time.


Fresh coffee – we recommend using whole bean if possible

Espresso machine

Burr grinder (if you are using whole bean)


Stainless steel milk jug

Knock down tube

A damp clean cloth for your steam wand

A dry clean cloth for your basket

A blind filter for cleaning your machine


We recommend grinding your coffee fresh each time you make a coffee.

Make sure you keep your coffee equipment clean by backwashing after use by back-flushing.
Dirty coffee equipment will taint the flavour of your coffee.

Your fresh beans should be kept in an airtight container, away from light and heat and at a constant temperature.

Make sure your tamp is the correct size for your portafilter basket.
If the tamp is too small it will cause your coffee to extract unevenly.


Keep your coffee cup on top of your espresso machine, this will keep the cup warm, which is important.
You can also use hot water from your kettle to heat your cup.

Take out your group handle and make sure it is clean, warm and dry.
If your group handle is wet then you will end up with cool and dirty water in your coffee.

Purge your shower screen, run the hot water for a few seconds to make sure the water for your coffee is clean and the temperature is just right.

Grind your coffee. We recommend a good quality burr grinder.

Getting your grind right.

You may need to adjust your grind settings to achieve the perfect pour.
A courser grind will allow for a faster extraction time and a finer grind will create a slower extraction.
You want to aim for 30 mls of coffee extracted over 30 seconds.

Fill your portafilter basket with your ground coffee.

Collapse the coffee by tapping the group handle on a level bench and add more coffee if required.
The basket should be full and the coffee evenly distributed.
Use a spatula (or your finger) to spread the coffee evenly.
Make sure the group handle is level before you tamp the coffee.

Tamp the coffee firmly and evenly.
If your coffee is evenly distributed then you will achieve correct and even extraction.

Brush any grinds off the rim of the basket and then lock the group handle into the group head firmly and place your warmed cups, glasses or mugs under the group handle spouts.
Activate extraction immediately because leaving your coffee sitting against the hot shower screen will damage the flavour.

Always watch your extraction, ideally it will begin with a drip and then pour like warm honey.
As soon as you notice that the colour of the espresso lightens and begins to look watery, switch off your extraction.
If your extraction was too fast then adjust your grind to be finer, if slow then adjust to be coarser or adjust your tamping pressure.
A rough guide for espresso is to aim for 30 mls in 30 seconds.

Have a look at your puck, these are the wet coffee grinds left in the basket after extraction, if it is wet and mushy then you may not have put enough coffee in or tamped firmly enough.
Aim for your puck to be firm and dry and for it to come out cleanly and in a solid piece when you knock it out.


Always use cold milk of your choice.

Purge the steam wand for a few seconds to release any water or residual milk before you begin.

Submerge the steam wand fully into the milk and then turn on the steam.
Hold the jug by the handle with one hand and place your other hand underneath so you can gauge the temperature.

Slowly lower the jug until you can hear a gentle hissing sound, this is the sound of air being sucked into the milk.
The milk will absorb the air and become textured. The more texture you want the more air you should add.
Direct the steam wand so that the milk spins around the jug.
Once you feel there is enough air then gently raise the jug and keep the milk spinning until desired temperature is reached.
The ideal temperature is 65 degrees, or until it becomes uncomfortable to hold your hand on the bottom of the jug.
As soon as you finish steaming your milk, purge the steam wand and clean with a damp cloth.

Pour your milk slowly into your espresso in one steady motion.

Always clean your espresso machine after use.


Photo credits: @village.fix @dolo_cafe_supply

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