How Many Espresso Beans are in a Shot of Espresso?

If you’re a coffee lover, you know that a shot of espresso is the foundation of many delicious coffee drinks, from lattes to cappuccinos. But have you ever wondered how many espresso beans go into making that perfect shot? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

The number of espresso beans used to make a shot can vary depending on factors such as the size of the shot, the strength of the beans, and the brewing method. On average, you’ll need around 20-30 espresso beans for each cup size. However, this number can range from 15-20 to 30-40 or more depending on the strength of your espresso.

Understanding the bean-to-shot ratio is crucial to achieving the perfect espresso experience. Too few beans, and your shot will be weak and watery. Too many, and it will be bitter and overpowering. In this guide, we’ll explore the factors that influence how many espresso beans go into a shot and give you the knowledge you need to pull consistently delicious shots every time.

The Science Behind the Dose: Weight Matters More Than Volume

When it comes to making a perfect shot of espresso, the dose is an essential element. The dose is the amount of coffee used to make a shot of espresso. The weight of the coffee is the most accurate way to measure the dose. Here’s what you need to know about the science behind the dose of espresso.

Grams, Not Scoops

Espresso is measured in grams, not scoops. Scoops can vary in size, leading to inconsistency. A weight-based approach ensures precision. The industry standard for a single shot of espresso is 7 grams of finely ground coffee. A double shot, often the base for many milk-based espresso drinks, uses around 14 grams of coffee.

Factors Influencing Dose

Several factors can influence the dose of espresso you need for a perfect shot. Here are some of the most important factors to consider:

Desired Yield

The amount of espresso you want in the cup (single or double shot) will determine the initial dose. If you want a larger yield, you’ll need to use more coffee to achieve the desired strength and flavor.

Coffee Origin and Roast

Different coffee origins have varying densities. A denser bean might require a slightly higher dose for optimal extraction. Lighter roasts tend to be less dense than darker roasts. You might need to adjust the dose slightly for optimal extraction based on roast level.

Grind Size

The grind size of the coffee also affects the dose. A finer grind size requires a lower dose to avoid over-extraction and bitterness. Conversely, a coarser grind might require a slightly higher dose for proper extraction.

Dialing In Your Espresso: The Art of Experimentation

When it comes to making a perfect shot of espresso, there are several factors to consider, including the number of beans used. Dialing in your espresso is an art that requires experimentation, but with the right tools and techniques, you can create a delicious and balanced shot every time.

The Importance of Freshly Ground Coffee

One of the most important factors in making a great shot of espresso is using freshly ground coffee. Pre-ground coffee loses its flavor quickly and can result in a lackluster shot. For the best results, grind your coffee beans just before brewing.

Grind Size Consistency (burr grinder recommended)

The consistency of your coffee grind is crucial for even extraction. A burr grinder is recommended for achieving consistent grind size, whereas a blade grinder can produce uneven grinds. Consistent grind size is essential for producing a balanced shot of espresso with crema, sweetness, and minimal bitterness.

The Art of Dialing In

When dialing in your espresso, start with the standard 7-gram dose for a single shot. Adjust the dose based on the factors mentioned above and the taste of the resulting espresso. Experiment with different doses, grind sizes, and brewing times to find the perfect balance for your taste buds.

Record your findings in a journal or notebook to keep track of your experiments and develop your perfect espresso recipe. With time and practice, you’ll be able to dial in your espresso like a pro and create a delicious shot every time.

Beyond the Basics: Exploring Dose Variations

So, you now know that the standard dose for a shot of espresso is 7 grams. However, there are situations where you might deviate from this dose. This is known as “deviation” or “Abweichung” in German. Let’s explore some of these factors for deviation.

Low-Dose Shots

Some espresso lovers prefer a lower dose of around 5-6 grams. This results in a less intense, sweeter espresso. This type of shot is called a “ristretto” shot. It’s important to note that a lower dose means less caffeine and a smaller volume of espresso. If you prefer a sweeter taste and a less intense shot, a ristretto shot might be the perfect choice for you.

High-Dose Shots

On the other hand, a higher dose of around 8-9 grams can create a more full-bodied and intense espresso. This type of shot is called a “lungo” shot. However, be cautious of over-extraction and bitterness. A higher dose means more caffeine and a larger volume of espresso. If you prefer a stronger and more intense shot, a lungo shot might be the perfect choice for you.

It’s worth noting that the standard dose of 7 grams is a good starting point, but it’s not set in stone. Experimenting with different doses can help you find your perfect shot. Always keep in mind that the quality of your espresso beans, the grind size, and the extraction time also play a crucial role in the taste of your shot.


Now that you know how many espresso beans are in a shot, you can start experimenting with different dosages to find the perfect recipe for your taste buds. Remember that personal preference can influence the variation in bean quantity, so don’t be afraid to adjust the number of beans used to achieve your desired flavor and strength.

When it comes to the number of beans needed for a single shot of espresso, the standard range is approximately 18 to 30 beans. However, this number can vary depending on factors such as grind size, roast level, and bean quality. For example, a darker roast may require more beans to achieve the same strength as a lighter roast.

To get the best results, it’s important to use high-quality beans that are freshly roasted and ground just before brewing. This will ensure that you get the most flavor and aroma from your espresso.

Espresso brewing is a journey that requires both science and art. By experimenting with different dosages and techniques, you can unlock a world of delicious espresso experiences. So, go ahead and dial in your perfect espresso recipe and savor the rich flavors waiting to be extracted. Remember, the journey is just as rewarding as the destination.

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