Amount of espresso to make?


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Jan 8, 2007
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Let me preface this by saying that I am no means a coffee expert or intermediate. I wouldn't really call myself a newbie, because I have no interest in becoming a coffee expert. I just have a question that I have no idea where else to ask! The only coffee drink that I consume is espresso, usually from starbucks, peets, or a local coffee shop if I can find one (I do lots of traveling, so I usually go to whatever is around).

I just purchased a home espresso machine (DeLonghi EC155) nothing fancy - and I know, you can't buy any good espresso maker for less than $1,000, but this machine works for me. Out of the few home espresso makers I've tried, this one is by far the best.

My question - for making double espressos, when should I STOP the machine? Sounds like a dumb question, I know. So I put in two scoops of the ground coffee, put my espresso cup where it needs to go (my cups are 3oz cups), and fill them up to about 2/3 of the way - because one espresso shot is 1oz, correct? So I should fill the 3oz cups 2/3 of the way for a double espresso, correct? When I do this, it doesn't seem to produce quite as much espresso as if I were to get a double espresso from a coffee shop, but I could be wrong. My fears are that if I fill it up too much, it will be more watered down that it should be, or if I don't fill it enough that I'm not only being wasteful, but not getting a full double espresso.

Once again, sorry for my newbie-ism.

home machine woes

No need to feel bad about cheap home machines. Its all about what you want.

From my experience home machines tend to make a weaker shot(not enought pressure or hot enough) so going by "industry standards" probably won't get you the results you want. Short answer is do some experimenting until you get what you want. Use the same amount of grounds and start with a fuller cup reducing the amt of water(time running) until you get what you like. Won't be instant results but even watery coffee is drinkable.

I'm a pretty big coffee snob but I use a 25$ unit in my home. I've had it for years and have simply learned how to get it to make my perfect cup.
You ask a tough question! Really, there's no set of rules to follow. You'll have to experiment to find what works best and delivers the best taste for you. For my machine I updose, meaning I pack as much coffee in the basket as the grouphead will allow, lightly tamp and lock it in. Don't get caught up in timing the shots. More important is the flow rate and color. It should start off with a small stream of black drops, then go into a slow, but steady stream of dark brown or reddish brown and finally lighten up a bit. Once you notice the shot going blonde (really light in color) you want to stop the shot or it will be overextracted, which pulls out all the nastiness the grounds have to offer. Trust me, you don't want that. Now, if you don't grind fine enough, don't distribute the grounds well or tamp hard enough the water will rush through leaving a thin, watery coffee with lousy taste. On the other hand, if you grind too fine or tamp too hard, you may get nothing but drips for more than 1 minute. Sometimes it actually taste OK, but for the most part it's horrible. Like most things in life it's all experimentation until you lock onto what works for your technique and setup. What grinder are you using? Beans? You need a decent grinder and must use beans that are no older than 2 weeks from roasted date to get the best results. With the grinder, don't make the mistake others do. A grinder needs to grind with consistency, not just fineness. A $10 blade grinder will grind beans to powder if you run it long enough. Later!

BTW, e-mail me if you need further info or would like to chat about espresso. It's much faster for me to answer e-mail than to reply here.

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