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How to Pull the Perfect Shot of Espresso

Learn how to pull the perfect shot when you make espresso from the experts at Third Rail Coffee in this Howcast video.


My name is Mike Jones, and I'm a barista at Third Rail Coffee right by Washington Square Park in New York City. I'm going to teach you some basic coffee-making skills.

Right, so now that we've ground, dosed, measured, and tamped, it's time to pull the perfect shot of espresso. Now I wish I could just tell you one thing that would result in the perfect shot, but unfortunately there are so many variables. It's kind of hard to do. But there are a few basic guidelines to adhere to that'll make it easier. One of those is the time of the extraction. You wanna shoot for between 21 and 30 seconds. If it's a little bit fast, you can either tighten the grind, or put a little bit more coffee in. If it's running a little bit too slow, you can coarsen the grind and run a little bit less coffee. And it's always good just to try one variable at a time. So let's see how this looks. First thing I did is flush the group head. You wanna make sure you get any excess coffee out of there so it's nice and clean. Once you put the portafilter in the group head, you want to immediately start the water. Put it in. Alright, so that looks pretty good. It was around 25 seconds. And another visual cue is if it's starting to "blant," which is turn very pale and gush out fast - that's a bad thing. So as soon as it started to turn that color, that's when I stopped it. So this should taste pretty nice. And that's how you pull the perfect shot of espresso.

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