espresso brew guide for your portafilter espresso machine
We’ll show you everything you need to know to prepare the perfect espresso on the portafilter coffee machine.
brew guide preparation at a glance
brew ratio double espresso
18 g coffee 45 g liquid in the cup
25 – 35 seconds
very fine / fine / medium / coarse
what you need
Here we have put together a practical overview with all
brew guides at a glance:
The traditional Italian espresso got its name from an analogy to the innovation “steam locomotive” in the 19th century: Compared to filter coffee, coffee could now be produced very quickly, with high pressure and thus with a delicious crema. The portafilter machine opens up the most possibilities to manually regulate and refine the different variables such as the degree of grinding, quantity and homogeneity of the coffee powder, brewing time, water temperature and brewing pressure. Accordingly, the traditional coffee craft requires a lot of practice, skill and precise work, for which the following recipe serves as a basis.
Building on our basic recipe, you can tweak individual parameters such as powder quantity, water quantity, degree of grinding or brewing time in a targeted and isolated manner in order to tailor the result to the bean and personal taste. We always brew double cups with the portafilter machine and set the grind level to a double espresso.
We start with the portafilter in the weaker hand and first wipe the sieve dry and clean with a cloth.
Now we place the portafilter on a scale and tare/zero it.
Attention: Before this step, make sure that the portafilter is as hot as possible. As a tip, the warm-up time can be shortened by rinsing the clamped portafilter with hot water.
dose and distribute
We now grind coffee directly into the portafilter until we have reached 18 grams. The powder should be ground very finely and distributed evenly (horizontally & vertically) in the sieve. This step is a crucial quality factor! The water then seeks the path of least resistance, over-extracting if the powder is unevenly distributed and under-extracting at the remaining points.
That’s why we first tap the portafilter vertically, then with the base of our index finger on the side of the portafilter to distribute the powder evenly in the sieve.
Now comes the pressing or “tamping” of the ground coffee. To do this, press the tamper into the sieve until you feel resistance.
Important: Pay attention to an even, horizontal rope. This is more important than the force used. Three fingers (e.g. thumb, index finger and ring finger) can be spread on the rim of the portafilter to straighten the tamper horizontally.
Rinse water out of the group briefly so that it is clean and also has the right water temperature.
We clamp the portafilter, place the scales including the cup under the outlet and start the stopwatch and the reference at the same time.
We stop dispensing when we have reached our target weight of 45g in the cup and see how much time has passed.
adjust and experiment
Is the number greater than our target time of e.g. 30 seconds?
Then next time we try to make the grinder a little coarser or use less powder and go through the process again from the beginning.
Here it is worth experimenting with different amounts of powder, water and times and finding your personal taste.
How does the coffee taste?
You can turn the following screws depending on your palate:
Coffee is too acidic
Increase the water temperature / set the grinder finer
Coffee is too bitter
Reduce water temperature / set grinder coarser
Coffee is not strong enough
Increase the amount of coffee / reduce the water volume / finer the grind
Our coffee recommendation
Here are a few coffees that are perfect for preparing on the portafilter espresso machine!
Tip: Single-origin coffees are great for preparing milk drinks!
Still have questions?
Check out Blum's FAQ
For a double espresso we usually use 18g coffee powder.
For a single bit more, about 10g would be a good starting point.
Of course it depends on the individual taste, beans and machines.
20-30ml or grams per cup is a good starting point.
If you want a strong espresso, you go for a short volume of 20g, with a weaker espresso it can also be 30g.
We usually set our machines to a pressure of 9 bar. We set the taste using the degree of grinding, dosage, extraction time and temperature. For us, pressure is the last variable we use for adjustment.
This simply means a double espresso. We only brew doubles because the better shape of the sieve means that the extraction is more even and the taste is better.
If you can set the brewing temperature on the machine: let’s start with setting it at 93°C.
If the coffee is roasted lighter, we increase the temperature, e.g. to 95°C. For darker roasts, it can also be a little less, 90°C.
In the end, as is so often the case, it is a matter of taste and a try!
There are two ways to do this:
1. Americano: a double espresso diluted with hot water
2. Café crème brewed, a separate grinder is required for this
Find out the recipe in our additional information!
Additional info - Café Crème recipe
A café crème can be brewed in several ways. Our favorite is to prepare the café crème as an “Americano”.
Here we give you two recipe suggestions to make the café crème a success at home:
Café Crème Standard
brew ratio Café Crème
18 g coffee
110 g liquid in the cup
30 – 35 Sekunden
medium / fine
the second type for the café crème we start with hot water in the cup and extract a double espresso.
100 g hot water in the cup
Prepare a double espresso in the same cup according to the instructions below