How to Prepare an Italian Espresso

The Italian espresso term is used in many contexts for two different drinks. Some refer to it as ristretto, others refer to it as short espresso to describe an Italian espresso. 

Although both drinks can be extracted in the same way, using a single recipe, the difference is given by the extraction time and the final amount of coffee in the cup.

This preparation method, Italian espresso, appeared in Italy in 1901, so when we refer to any espresso variant, it is a drink originating from Italy.

About this Item

Item FormGround
FlavorGran Selezione Ground
Caffeine Contentcaffeinated

Italian Espresso Recipe?

To get an Italian espresso, you need an espresso machine, either manual or automatic. The basic parameters that all professionals start with for correct extraction are:

  • 18-20 grams of fine ground coffee to obtain two Italian espressos in the
  • double portafilter.
  • Extraction time of 25-30 seconds.
  • Ideal water temperature of 90-94 degrees.
  • Maximum 20 ml for a single espresso.
  • Pressure in the espresso machine boiler maximum 9 bars.

About this Item

Item FormWhole Bean
FlavorBarista Gran Crema – 2.2 LB
Caffeine ContentCaffeinated

By using these parameters as a basis for obtaining an Italian espresso, you will be able to more easily identify fluctuations that can occur in extraction. When everything is set, follow the steps below.

  1. Grind the coffee in the portafilter.
  2. Tamper with a weight of at least 15kg to create a very compact coffee bed.
  3. Couple the portafilter into the espresso machine.
  4. Place the cups under the espresso machine.
  5. Start the extraction with the timer.
  6. Stop the extraction and test.

If the extraction is not within the indicated parameters, this means that either the degree of grind is not correct, or the amount of ground coffee in the portafilter needs to be adjusted, or other factors.

Tips & Tricks for Italian Espresso

If all parameters are correct but the coffee still has a bitter taste, reduce the temperature in the boiler if the espresso machine allows it. If not, increase the amount in the cup by 5 ml.

A sign of freshness and correct extraction is the cream on the surface of an espresso. It should have a pleasant golden color and an aromatic scent.

If you want to achieve a ristretto, stop the extraction above halfway to get 10 ml for a single espresso shot.

Test different types of coffee, grinds and temperatures to discover your ideal espresso. Tastes are subjective and can be discovered through testing.