Making Espresso Like a Pro

Espresso is a temperamental diva.  It takes know-how, practice and a lot of patience to consistently pull a good shot.  You can learn a lot about making espresso at home by watching a pro. Here, Kyle Glanville, the Vice President of Strategy at Intelligentsia Coffee in Venice California, explains the process for making a perfect cup of espresso.

The Keys to Great Espresso

  • Feel the coffee grind with your hands before making a shot.  If it’s too course or fine, adjust the grinder settings.
  • Preheat your espresso shot before hand by filling it half-way with hot water.
  • Make sure the portafilter basket is clean and dry before adding the coffee.
  • Distribute the coffee evenly throughout the basket with you forefinger before tamping
  • Tamp the coffee with approximately 30 lbs/14 kg of pressure.
  • Use only clean, filtered water and flush the brewing group head before attaching the portafilter.
  • Proper extraction time should be 20-30 seconds.  To adjust extraction times, adjust the grind of the coffee. A courser grind means a faster extraction, and finer grind means a slower extraction.
    • Pale, thin espresso means the extraction was to fast.
    • Thick, black, bitter-tasting espresso means the extraction was too slow.


Video produced and directed by Matt Checkowski for The Department of the 4th Dimension, Used with permission.

Matt Checkowski

Matt Checkowski is a filmmaker, designer and the founder of The Department of the 4th Dimension, a multidimensional storytelling company based in Los Angeles.

  • I really enjoyed the video. There’s also a nice video on how to make good espresso from ChefSteps on YouTube. I think they both mutually add to each other.

Comments are closed.