How Many Ounces is a Shot of Espresso?

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 let me walk you through how many ounces are in a shot of espresso, and exactly what steps you need to take in order to pull that perfect shot.

The Straight Answer

Whether you want to be a skilled at-home java brewer or aspire as high as a professional coffee-shop barista, there are a few things you absolutely need to know.

For example, to give the short answer to the big question here: A standard single shot of espresso is 1 ounce of liquid volume.

For those of us who are quick at math, all you need to do is double that for a double shot, which is 2 oz.

Just to clarify, this is the total liquid AFTER you’ve pulled the shot – as in, it’s equal to the amount of liquid gold (i.e. brewed coffee) in your cup.

But, really, that’s the easy part to define. The question now becomes, 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).

One of the key ways to ensure that you are getting a fine enough grind – as well as one that is consistent – is to make sure that you are using a good, dependable burr grinder. (None of that chopped stuff with a blade!)

What, you don’t have a good grinder yet? Well, you had better get one fast if you’re want to start enjoying real coffee.

PRO TIP: We recommend this grinder by OXO, which has a handy built-in scale and stainless steel conical burrs. If you need more inspiration, however, check out our list of the best burr coffee grinders – you’ll be sure to find the ideal one for you!
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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.

Using a scale can make a huge difference in streamlining your espresso brewing process, whilst also ensuring that the quality and taste of your shots remain as steady and consistent as possible.

We recommend picking up the Hario V60 Scale, as it is a top-of-the-line model that is dependable and built for measurements as small as these.

Tamping Like a Pro

  person tamping an Espresso shot

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.

Why tamp? This will ensure that water will be forced through the grounds with the same pressure throughout, allowing for the ultimate consistency of your shot. Use a coffee tamper like this beauty for maximum precision!

Check out the video below to learn more about the art (and myths!) of tamping:

The Right Water

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!

The truth is, there are quite a few different ways you’re going to want to use water with your coffee, but it depends on what you’re brewing. For most coffee brewing, you want some minerals in the water (just not too many!) in order to help the water extract the flavor, rather than just passing right through.

When it comes to espresso, though, the brewing happens so quickly, and with such fine coffee grounds, that you don’t need minerals in the water. Because of this, distilled water happens to be the best option for your espresso brewing adventures. Not to mention the absence of minerals in this type of water also helps keep your equipment squeaky clean and not needing to be descaled!

You can find out more about the best ways to get the perfect water for your coffee here.

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. We’ll outline two very popular ones here: The ristretto and the lungo (in other words, the “short” and “long” shots).

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 as you would for a regular espresso shot.
  • Ristretto shots will have a more concentrated and bolder flavor.

The Lungo  (AKA the long shot)

  • A lungo espresso pull will yield a larger shot, at around 1.5 ounces.
  • You will require the same amount of coffee, but double the water as you would for a regular espresso shot.
  • Lungo shots will be weaker, but possibly a bit more bitter.

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.

Check out the following video to learn the difference between other various espresso shots.

The Bottom Line

The answer to the question: “How many ounces is a shot of espresso” is not a simple one, because the number of ounces differs with the type of espresso shot you are making – whether it be a 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!

Have you mastered the perfect espresso? What’s your espresso size of choice? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, if you enjoyed the article, please consider sharing!

Alex
 

Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.

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