How to make a perfect espresso at home!

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Espresso making tool Superkop wall version

Espresso is what we are making…Espresso is an Italian coffee-making technique that involves forcing water through coffee grounds quickly and under high pressure. The quality of the beans, grinding, measurements, and water can significantly affect the result. So, we’ve put together some helpful tips to help you get the most out of your Superkop espresso tool and make delicious coffee from the comfort of your home!


  1. Use fresh coffee beans
  2. A high quality coffee grinder is crucial
  3. Tamping
  4. Brew temperature water
  5. Use precision measurements
  6. Brew time
  7. How to serve your espresso
  8. Summary tips for preparing your espresso

Fresh coffee beans

Buy coffee as fresh as possible. This is crucial for espresso. Even with great gear, you can’t pull a good espresso if you don’t start with good coffee. Some might like it chocolatey, others might like it balanced, some might like some earthy notes, or floral. That is personal.
Espresso is not a type of coffee bean or a roast; it is a coffee brewing method. However, the choice of roast can affect the extraction process. For instance, a darker roast is easier to extract, because the bean’s cell structure is softened up with the prolonged roast. A lighter roast will provide better coffee, and the espresso will retain a lot more of the beans’ origin, but it is harder to pull, and requires more precision.
The consensus among specialty coffee connoisseurs is that behind every great espresso is a freshly roasted coffee bean. Fresh coffee beans contain unadulterated and innate aromas that are untainted by the effects of oxygen and external elements. One of the best ways to preserve these flavour is by storing your coffee beans in an airtight container, or by only using recently roasted coffee beans. Most specialty roasters will display the date their beans were roasted on their packaging so you can visibly see how freshly roasted the beans are. Most baristas would agree that using your beans 1 to 3 weeks after roasting will produce the best shot of espresso.
Whatever you choose, freshness matters, so make sure you’re using coffee at its prime!

A high quality coffee grinder is crucial

Espresso is known for its fine grind size, typically a bit finer than table salt. The finer you grind, the more pressure you create in the portafilter, so the shot will pour more slowly.
When aiming to get the best flavour out of your coffee beans, a high-quality coffee grinder is essential. A general principle to follow is to start coarse, time your shot, and finely tune depending on your espresso extraction time. If your espresso shot was fast (below 25 seconds), grind finer. If your shot was slow (over 30 seconds), grind coarser. A quality coffee grinder will allow you to perform small adjustments to your grind setting so you can finely tune your espresso to get the best results each time.

When we refer to a quality coffee grinder, we are referring to grinders that are able to produce a consistent grind, achieving better results during the extraction process. This is due to the decreased risk of channeling – when water finds a ‘weak’ point in your puck and creates a channel where water flows through quickly with little resistance. However, it is worth emphasizing that finding the correct grind settings may not happen the first time and depends greatly on your choice of coffee beans. It’s likely you’ll start with the wrong grind size, but with careful observation of extraction time and the taste of your espresso, you’ll achieve great results!

At Superkop we recommend a hand grinder from Comandante or Kinu. Manual hand grinders are small, portable and reliable, but grinding can get a bit tiring if you’re doing more than two shots in a row. Electric grinders are more convenient but take up additional space and are not portable. You can try Eureka grinders, Fiorenzato or Niche, these are all great options. A good quality grinder are likely to provide better and consistent results.


A tamper is a small, flat round weight with a handle—kind of like a stamp. You use the tamper to press the coffee grounds into an even disc. The tamper size (at Superkop 58 mm) is the same size as the portafilter of the tool. This will ensure that the portafilter and watercup can go into the Superkop and maximize the water’s contact with the coffee. Don’t press too hard, or the disc will become compacted. Apply light pressure and release with a slight twist.


Typically, espresso is brewed anywhere between 90-96°C (194-205°F). During the extraction process, consistent brew water temperature is extremely important for achieving exceptional espresso. When brewing espresso, the extra variable changes the extraction. Lower temperatures also work better with medium roasts. So, you can go a few degrees lower if you like to experiment. The water boiler from Fellow looks lovely in your kitchen besides your Superkop and gives you the exact temperature of the water.
Filtering your water, especially if you live in an area with hard water, can improve the taste of your espresso (high levels of calcium carbonate tend to produce more bitter flavours in your coffee).
The best way to maintain consistent brew water temperature during extraction, is to preheat the watercup (and some people also preheat the portafilter). If hot water comes in to contact with cold materials this will create fluctuations in the temperature of your brew water.

Use precision measurements

When it comes to optimal extraction for espresso – precision is king. Finding the perfect brew ratio is all down to precise measurements which precision coffee scales will provide you. This means measuring out your grams of espresso, coffee beans and water to 0.1g resolution. Using an espresso scale that is able to provide this level of accuracy can make the world of difference to the taste of your coffee.
For precision, it’s best to use a scale to ensure you’re dosing each shot correctly. For a single shot we like to use 9 grams of grinded coffee. For a double shot of espresso, a standard dose is 18 grams of coffee.
There are a few reasons for taking measurements throughout the brew process. Perhaps the most valuable reason is that these measurements allow you to develop an espresso recipe that not only suits the type of beans you have (different roast levels require different doses), but also taste your preferences.
Using high levels of accuracy will both help achieve consistently delicious espresso, achieve a more sustainable and cost-effective brew. Accurate measurements reduce the amount of wasted coffee produced when brewing, so you can make the most out of those expensive coffee beans you bought!
New home baristas will often overlook the importance of meticulously measuring, but it’s worth emphasizing how important this is in producing consistently delicious espresso.
The precision scales from Acaia or Fellow are a great option!

The brew time

The brew time for espresso is typically between 24 and 30 seconds. Enjoy the sound of the click to click of the Superkop. It is only six times to pull over the lever.
If your shot takes longer than 30 seconds to pull there will be too much heat and the shot will be over extracted. This will be a burnt espresso shot. If the shot pulls faster than that, coffee grounds will not have enough time to extract, and the shot will be under-extracted.

How to serve your espresso?

Serving and drinking espresso is part of a ritual that makes up the whole espresso experience. You need to focus on every detail of the process to enjoy the flavours to the maximum. Here are a few hints.
Porcelain espresso cups maintain optimal coffee temperature for a longer period and preserve the foam and flavour. There are also glass cups with a double wall that are even better than the porcelain ones, and they look fancier. For optimum results, the cups need to be warmed up before pulling the shot.
Drink mineral water with your espresso. Drink a few sips of water before your espresso; this will help your taste buds to wipe away any previous taste memories. You can also drink water in between your espresso sips. Coffee dehydrates, and you need to drink water.
Espresso requires preparation and tasting ritual, and some subjectivity. That means that the perfect espresso shot is subject to personal taste and mood.

Summary tips for preparing your espresso

The perfect espresso is a combination of the coffee beans’ quality, the espresso machine’s quality, and the barista’s skills, so:

  • Buy coffee as fresh as possible.
  • Always use freshly ground coffee, always.
  • A regular, single shot is made with 9 grams of ground coffee, a double shot 18 grams.
  • Pull the shot at the right temperature, which is typically between 195°F to 205°F (90°C – 96°C)
  • Tamp with around 30 lb pressure.
  • The shot pulling should last 25 to 30 seconds.
  • It’s crucial that you make a mess in the kitchen. That’s part of the experience.
  • Enjoy…