Espresso The most modern and today by far the most widespread coffee preparation . This method of preparation comes from Italy and the very name "espresso" means "to put under pressure", which basically describes the process of making coffee. There is still a lot of ambiguity and confusion around espresso, especially in the Czech Republic.

We are the only country where the term piccolo is used for espresso and where espresso is used for espresso americano coffee. There are various modifications, we will not deal with them now. But we would like to show you how a real espresso is prepared , because it is really a very interesting process that is not as trivial as it may seem.

We tried to write this article professionally enough so that the baristas would not faint, but at the same time lay enough, so that even those who have little or no experience with the preparation of espresso could understand it perfectly.

Do I have an espresso machine?

The lever espresso machine is the only coffee machine that we will focus on in this article. Only with its help can an espresso be made that meets the basic characteristics of such a drink. In the lever coffee machine you can make espresso and other coffee drinks as you can indulge in a cafe.

Automatic coffee machine or capsule coffee machine - with ordinary "espresso" coffee machines from the electric, unfortunately, not much to conjure up, because you do not control many of the variables listed below. Although you can choose the size of the drink, unfortunately you cannot choose how much coffee will be ground or you cannot influence the extraction time (water flow time through the coffee). Coffee is made, but you don't know exactly how. How the individual devices differ, how to choose the right one and what are the differences in tastes, we have summarized in the article How to choose an espresso machine?

The automatic coffee machine prepares espresso-like coffee. It will certainly have undeniable advantages in ease of use, as well as in living in places such as offices and business meetings, where there is no space and time to prepare coffee . The coffee will be different from the excellent one from your favorite cafe. Preparation is usually very simple, you just press the button, so there is no need to deal with preparation in automatic coffee machines.

What will you need for espresso?

If you want a really good espresso like in good cafes, then you can't do without the information below. If you are not in a position to fulfill all the above points, you will certainly move your preparation further by using our advice, at least in part . Once you have espresso in preparation practice you will not always want a completely identical espresso, it is possible that you can do without weight and stopwatch, but to understand the principles are necessary at the beginning:

  • lever espresso coffee machine
  • digital scale with an accuracy of 0.1g, preparation requires accuracy. You can usually get this weight for a few hundred today. You can buy it here in the Digital Scales section.
  • stopwatch - you can also use an ordinary watch, or you can use scales that already have an integrated stopwatch.

Brew Ratio - the ratio of ground coffee and water

This term is often not translated, but can be expressed as the ratio of ground coffee to water. In layman's terms, we can say that the commonly used ratio of 1: 2 (coffee: water) indicates the intensity required for espresso.

For example, 18g of coffee and 36g of water (ie about 36ml of drink). Brew ratio is a choice of personal preference and now varies greatly worldwide. It ranges from 1: 1 strong ristretto coffee to 1: 3. Most often you get a 1: 2 ratio for espresso, but in Italy it is a tradition to make espresso with a ratio of 1: 3 . A different ratio may be suitable for different coffees.

Increasing the brew ratio brings greater purity in espresso and allows proper extraction of lighter roasted coffees or coffees grown at higher altitudes, ie those that are harder to extract.


By time we mean the time when the coffee starts to flow out of the portafilter at the correct roughness and quantity. The coffee starts to flow after 5-7 seconds. The extraction time should last 25-30 seconds. In a shorter time, it would mean that the coffee is too coarsely ground. Extracting for more than 30 seconds would mean that the coffee is not ground too finely.

Amount of coffee (Dose)

If we are making a double espresso, it is good to stick to 18-20g of coffee , for the originally traditionally Italian way rather 14-15g. If the extraction time is still too fast and your grinder can no longer handle finer grinding, it is good to increase the amount of coffee at that moment.


By this we mean the final amount of double espresso, which is 40-50 ml of coffee . It is often stated in grams, where 1g = 1ml, then in recipes you can find the input 20g, output 40g, which means 20g of ground coffee per 40ml of drink.

Grinding roughness

When preparing espresso, the roughness most affects the taste of the drink . When grinding coffee and at the same time setting the espresso, it is good to set the grinder for the finest grinding .

Important! How to choose the right grinding roughness? If the extraction exceeds 30 seconds, it is good to increase the roughness. If the opposite is true, you can increase the weight.


Here is meant the temperature of the water passing through the portafilter (lever). For normal home use, you do not have to deal with this parameter , but we would also like to clarify the effect of temperature on coffee preparation. Some of the more expensive the coffee machine can adjust, most have a set temperature around 93 ° C. Effect of temperature on taste: higher temperature in the preparation of espresso gives a high degree of extraction, improves taste and reduces acidity.


✔ Total preparation time: approx. 1 minute, extraction time (flow) 25-30 seconds

✔ Amount of coffee: 14-20 grams per double espresso (2 servings)

For the sake of clarity in the instructions below, we already assume that you have adjusted the grinder , as we wrote above. Be sure not to take the instructions as strict.

  1. Remove the lever (portafilter) from the coffee machine. Rinse the shower from the rest of the coffee stuck on it.
  2. We will make coffee for espresso. We weigh 18g of coffee .
  3. Pour the ground coffee into the basket of the lever .
  4. We level the coffee over the entire surface.
  5. Place the lever head on the table and press the coffee straight with the tamper . Make sure that the tamper is dry and free of coffee beans. After pressing the coffee, DO NOT tap the tamper into the lever. Due to vibrations, cracks would form in the coffee, which would affect the extraction and taste of the coffee.
  6. Clean the lever of coffee grounds. Install the lever and turn on the pump (water flow through the lever).
  7. The espresso should start to flow approximately 5-7 seconds after you switch on the pump. It will run for 25-30 seconds , then turn off the pump.
  8. The finished espresso should be 35-45ml (ie even grams). Serve the espresso immediately after its preparation.

Parameters of certified Italian espresso

Since the Italian type of espresso is in decline and with its characteristic brew ratio 1: 3 it is more out of the ordinary spectrum, we mention it only at the end, but we certainly do not discourage you from preparing it. Find out more at .

  • Weight of ground coffee portion 7 g ± 0.5
  • Coffee water outlet temperature 88 ° C ± 2 ° C
  • Beverage temperature in the cup 67 ° C ± 3 ° C
  • Water inlet pressure 9 bar ± 1
  • Extraction time 25 seconds ± 2.5 seconds
  • Viscosity at 45 ° C> 1.5 mPa s
  • Oils > 2 mg/ml
  • Caffeine < 100 mg/cup
  • Volume of the drink in the cup, including cream 25 ml ± 2.5

(Photo: , author: Coffeegeek )