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Home » Salami Shot: Tasting Espresso the Simple Way

Salami Shot: Tasting Espresso the Simple Way

The world of espresso is not for the faint-hearted. It’s frustrating, challenging, and time-consuming but ultimately rewarding. There’s no better feeling for a coffee lover than getting a flavourful shot. Enter salami shot.

A salami shot is a technique in which an espresso shot is cut into several cups. It helps you understand the many flavours found in espresso and find the best output ratio. Here’s a complete guide on how to do this exercise yourself.

what you need for a salami shot

What is Salami Technique?

The salami technique is an exercise in tasting espresso. It’s similar to cupping coffee because it lets you evaluate the flavour. It’s especially useful for helping new baristas understand how espresso flavours develop during different stages of the extraction process.

You pull an espresso shot as usual, but with one important difference: you need to separate the shot into seven espresso cups. You do this while the shot is extracting. Place the first cup under the portafilter, and start the timer when the first drop hits your cup. Switch out the cups every five seconds.

Tip: Keep the espresso cups close to your machine so it’s easy to grab and switch them every five seconds.

Run a shot a little longer than you normally do — up to 40 seconds. Once you have six to seven espresso cups with a little bit of espresso, line them up, making sure they are in the right order.

What You Need for a Salami Shot

You need this coffee equipment to perform an espresso salami shot:

You should also know how to make espresso at home. The closer you are to a perfect shot of espresso, the more successful the exercise will be.

Salami Espresso Technique: Taste Test

Start with cup #7. Smell and taste it, and write down how it tastes. For example, is it sour, weak, flavourful, or strong? Write down your observations, take a sip of water to clear the palate, and continue to cup #6. Taste all seven cups using the entire contents of the cup and just a tiny sip.

In this way, you’ll be able to quite literally taste your way through the extraction process and understand which flavors are coming from each part of that extraction.

Here’s a summary of what happens: At the start of the shot, hot water quickly extracts acids from the grounds, which is why the first cup tastes sour. This is under-extraction (1). As the extraction continues, the acids don’t come out as quickly, and the oils and solids start appearing. These aren’t as intense but add rich flavour to the espresso. This is also where extraction starts to slow down, so each following cup of espresso is less concentrated.

On the other end, cups #6 and #7 are over-extracted and mostly consist of bitter tannins. Cups #5 to #4 are the sweet spot. They have bright acids paired with sugar and oils, which create a balance.

Overall, the salami shot espresso trains new baristas on how to spot under and over-extraction. It also shows which flavours become more prominent if the shot is pulled too long or too short.

Final Thoughts

The salami technique lets you taste all stages of espresso extraction. For example, next time you have a bitter shot, you’ll remember the salami technique and know you over-extracted. Then it’s easy to pull back and cut the shot at 30 seconds.

Have you tried the salami shot technique? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


A ristretto is the opposite of a long shot. A long shot is called a lungo and uses twice as much water as a regular espresso shot. A long shot is less potent and more diluted. Ristretto uses less water and has a shorter extraction time compared to regular espresso, so ristretto is a more concentrated coffee drink.

The 10-second rule for espresso is a belief that a shot of espresso needs to be consumed or mixed with milk within ten seconds after it’s done brewing. If the espresso shot isn’t drunk or mixed with milk, syrups, or other ingredients in 10 seconds, the belief is it spoils.

The three layers of a shot of espresso are called body, heart, and crema. The crema is a thin, golden-brown layer found on top. The body is the middle layer and has a caramel-brown colour when properly extracted. The heart is the bottom layer of the shot and is a rich brown colour. 

  1. BaristaHustleAdmin. (2017, January 30). Coffee Extraction and How to Taste It. Barista Hustle. Retrieved from: https://www.baristahustle.com/blog/coffee-extraction-and-how-to-taste-it
Marina Maletic
I grew up surrounded by people who drink Turkish coffee. This was the only kind of coffee I knew for a long time, and wasn’t a fan of because it was too strong. It wasn’t until I started uni that I delved more into the world of coffee by trying out my classmate’s Aero Press. Nowadays, I can’t imagine starting a day without my espresso machine. If I’m not drinking or writing about coffee, I’m connecting with fellow coffee enthusiasts and looking up ways to perfect my dialing in technique.

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