How many ounces is a shot of espresso? Well, I'm glad you asked! Crafting the perfect cup of coffee isn’t always easy - how many of us have blindly thrown some water and coffee grounds into our desired coffee-making tool to be left unsatisfied with the result?

Of course, we all have differing opinions on what makes good coffee great, but I’m sure we can all agree: watered down java, or potent brown sludge is neither appealing, nor ideal.

So if you're wondering how many ounces are in a shot of coffee? and How many do you need to make it? Whether your poison is a creamy, frothy latte, or an espresso shot straight up, you’ll need to learn some fool proof methods to measuring the perfect cup every time.

Whether you aspire to be a smooth at-home barista or a professional coffee-shop barista, there are a few things you absolutely need to know. A standard single shot of espresso is 1 ounce of liquid volume and double that respectively for a double shot. That’s the easy part to define, but how do you we get there?

The answer is in the measurements! (and a few other things – which you’re about to learn about)

The Coffee Grounds

Note that espresso requires the finest of grinds; aim for the consistency of a fine powder that will clump together (think whole wheat flour). What, you don’t have agood grinder yet? Well, you had better get one fast if you’re want to start enjoying REAL coffee.

PRO TIP: Using a scale is the best way to ensure accuracy of your espresso ground measurements. We recommend this grinder by OXO which has a handy built in scale - and is just downright awesome​.

Measuring is Key

For a standard double shot similar to what you will find in your favorite coffee house, aim for 16 grams, give or take a few due to personal preference of taste.

Tamping Like a Pro

To prep your espresso for your machine, you’ll have to firmly pack in your grounds. You’ll need to use a technique that industry insiders call tamping. To tamp, finely pack the espresso into your portafilter or machine input.

  person tamping an Espresso shot

Why tamp? This will ensure that water will be forced through the grounds with the same pressure, allowing for the consistency of your shot. Use a coffee tamper like this beauty for maximum precision! Check out CoffeeResearch.org for a full on tutorial on tamping.

The Right Temperature

One last thing to remember is NOT to overheat the water and to make sure that the water you do use is filtered. Nothing ruins a meticulously measured espresso shot like poor water quality.

Just like food, coffee can also be burnt! Make sure your water temperature does not exceed 205 degrees °F, or 96 degrees °C so that your espresso will not burn!

Not all Espresso Shots Were Created Equal

There are multiple variations of the espresso shot, thus it will have variations in volume. To yield a single shot with a normal pull time, use 7 grams of coffee per on ounce of water, and double that for a double shot as we discussed before.

The amount of volume the shot can yield, will depend on what kind of espresso pull you desire. Go Coffee Go seems to have all the answers if you really want to get into the nitty gritty!

The Ristretto (AKA the short shot)

  • A ristretto espresso pull will yield a shorter shot, around 3/4 of an ounce due to its lesser extraction.
  • You will use half the amount of water for a ristretto shot. The same applies to the larger cousin of the ristretto, the lungo.
  • Ristretto shots will have a more concentrated and bolder flavorNow let’s compare the ristretto with the lungo

The Lungo  (AKA the long shot)

  • A lungo would require the same amount of coffee as a normal single shot, but double the water.
  • A lungo will be less strong, but possibly a bit more bitter – if you’re into that type of thing

Ristretto and Lungo respectively are used in a variety of different espresso drinks for instance a ristretto in a flat white, and lungo in a long black. This is all just a matter of taste, and preference, so adjust your shot and pull times accordingly.

Do you consider yourself more of an audio or visual learner? Check out the following video from Third Rail Coffee in NYC! This tutorial will show you how to measure properly, tamp, and prepare your espresso shot.

The Bottom Line

The answer to the question: “How many ounces is a shot of espresso” is not a simple one, because making the perfect cup is not a simple task in itself! The amount of ounces differs with the type of espresso shot you are making, whether it be ristretto, normal, lungo, or a double shot.

Remember the perfect espresso can be made with the following steps:

  • grind
  • weigh
  • measure
  • tamp
  • check your water temperature
  • pull the shot!

And then your espresso is good to go! Enjoy!

Back to the HomeGrounds homepage for more inspiration?

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