How to make an espresso

Making a well executed espresso doesn’t have to be difficult. Here we break down our procedure at the Melbourne Coffee Academy. This is crucial in becoming a barista or making great coffee at home as it forms the basis of all espresso beverages. To learn more, check out our Basic Espresso Course.


  1. Remove portafilter from the group head.

  2. Purge group head for 3 seconds to remove excess coffee from the shower screen.

  3. Wipe drip tray to ensure a clean surface. A wet drip tray will promote cross contamination and pick up stray coffee grinds.

  4. Tap portafilter on the knock box to dislodge the coffee puck.

  5. Wipe out portafilter with a clean, dry tea towel.

  6. Place portafilter on the scales and tare.

  7. Dose coffee into the centre of the portafilter.

  8. Distribute by tapping the portafilter gently twice with your palm to settle the grinds and centralise them.

  9. To remove any air pockets tap the portafilter on a flat surface.

  10. Return portafilter to scales to ensure you are within 0.1 grams of prescribed dose. Add or remove grinds accordingly.

  11. Tamp the coffee levelly with an even amount of pressure. Make sure to calibrate tamp pressure with the other baristas in your team.

  12. Apply pressure with your weight and shoulder rather than your wrist to alleviate strain and avoid injury.

  13. Clean the rim of the basket to avoid coffee grinds sitting up on the gasket seal.

  14. Gently place the portafilter into the group head to avoid cracking the puck.

  15. Turn on the group head immediately to begin extraction.

  16. Steps 1-14 should be done as quickly as possible to avoid losing thermal mass in the portafilter.

  17. Assess the flow rate and evenness of the extraction.

  18. Look out for channelling, which can happen because of uneven tamping, sloppy distribution or rough handling when inserting the portafilter.

  19. If the volumetrics are setup correctly the extraction should automatically stop at the at the desired yield.

  20. Check shot times. They should be within +/- 3 seconds of the desired time

Click here to learn more about our Basic Espresso Course.