How Much Espresso is in a Shot?


An espresso shot is equivalent to one fluid ounce, while a double shot is two fluid ounces. It’s important to note that a fluid ounce is approximately 30 mL, distinct from an ounce by weight, which is 28 g. This volume specifically refers to the amount of water passed through the espresso.

Coffee-to-Water Ratio

For a single shot of espresso, you typically need 7 grams of coffee, while a double shot requires 14 grams. Depending on your machine and personal preference for strength, you can adjust these quantities up to 9 grams for a single shot and 18 grams for a double shot.

Brewing Time and Grind Size

Ideally, a double shot should take between 20 to 30 seconds to brew. Espresso machines are calibrated to apply a specific amount of pressure, measured in “bars,” to a designated water volume. The espresso in the portafilter resists this pressure. If the coffee grind is too fine, it will impede the water flow, resulting in a slow extraction. Conversely, if the grind is too coarse, the water will pass through too quickly, leading to an underextracted brew. Finding the right grind size is crucial for extracting the perfect espresso shot.

Usage of Double Shots

In the majority of espresso-based recipes, a double shot is typically used. This ensures that the coffee flavor remains dominant among the other ingredients. Popular examples include Cafe Mochas and Dulce de Leches. For more elaborate drinks or larger portions, such as an Espresso Granita, it is recommended to use a double shot per 8 to 12 ounces of the finished beverage.

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Cold Drinks Tips

When preparing cold espresso-based beverages, it is advisable to chill the shots in the refrigerator before combining them with other ingredients. This precaution ensures that the warmth from the espresso does not compromise the desired coolness of the final drink.

Influence of Coffee Beans

The flavor and intensity of the espresso shot vary depending on the type of coffee beans used. For instance, beans from Kenya, Sumatra, or Guatemala, known for their full-bodied qualities, tend to have more dissolved solids, resulting in a more pronounced and intense taste. Keep in mind that different coffee origins may exhibit varying responses to the same volume of water, making their perception differ.

The Role of Ristretto Shots

A ristretto shot is a concentrated espresso that uses only half an ounce (15 mL) of water and the same amount of coffee beans (7 grams). The shot is cut short, resulting in a smaller volume. Despite the equivalent fluid ounces, a double ristretto requires more time, coffee, and effort due to the need to repeat the process. Ristretto shots are popular among espresso enthusiasts as they extract the best qualities of the coffee, as bitterness increases toward the end of the shot.

Solids and Flavor

Initially, ristretto shots contain more coffee solids, giving them a dark, syrupy appearance. As the extraction progresses, the shot gradually transforms into a golden water-like consistency. The solids extracted at the beginning of the shot, including caffeine, caramelized sugars, and chlorogenic acids, contribute significantly to the espresso’s flavor profile. Therefore, a double ristretto embodies the same fluid ounces as a regular shot but offers a thicker and more flavorful drinking experience.

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For further guidance on coffee-related topics, visit 5 WS.

Related Content

If you’re curious about the ideal coffee-to-water ratio for brewing a regular cup of joe, check out our article on “How Much Ground Coffee per Cup?”

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