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How Many Ounces in a Shot of Espresso?

Espresso is a small but scrappy beast of a beverage, isn’t it? Rich, powerful, and holy smokes, it sure makes you feel alive!

It is the way it is because it’s made by forcing hot water under pressure through compressed coffee grounds. And thanks to the highly pressurized process, the flavors in a shot of espresso are more concentrated.

Espressos are served in shots, which are quite small. And though espresso cups are quite adorable in their smallness, have you ever wondered why they have to be so small in the first place? To explain espresso’s diminutive serving size, we will elaborate more on how many ounces in a shot of espresso.

How Many Ounces in a Shot of Espresso?

A single espresso shot has about 7g of ground beans, producing about 30ml of coffee. On the other hand, a double shot became famous in the U.S. in the 1990s after Starbucks introduced it. To make a double shot, also referred to as a doppio, you need 14g of ground beans. The 14g can make 60ml of coffee, which is two liquid ounces.

What Is an Espresso Shot?

man drinking espresso

The word "espresso" is an Italian term that denotes "coffee expressly for you." The idea of this beverage came from the short amount of time it takes to prepare it. The first Pavoni and Bezzera espresso machines made a cup of coffee within 45 seconds in 1906.

Most espresso lovers don't understand what an espresso shot is. Most baristas don't help people understand the meaning of double shot and single-shot or why it's served that way. So what is the difference between a double and single shot?

How Many Ounces in a Shot of Espresso?

coffee espresso porta filter

It is a usual assumption that a shot is about an ounce, whether it’s espresso or tequila. Although a shot of liquor can technically be up to 1.5 ounces. 

In the world of espresso, however, a shot is about 30ml and weighs about 28g. And depending on your machine, you will need about 9g of coffee to make a single shot and 18g for a doppio. Well, this might sound like an extremely small amount of coffee, but it does have extremely high caffeine levels.

Normally this small serving undergoes an intense brewing process that lowers its volumes. The brewing process of an espresso involves using pressure and hot water on coffee grounds. The pressure exerted on these ground coffee beans can be ten times higher than the atmospheric pressure. The high pressure is what distinguishes it from other types of coffee.

To get the best espresso out of your grounds, you must consider other variables and measurements. Some of these variables include time, pressure, volume, weight, and temperature.

Coffee Beans Used to Make Espressos

The types of coffee beans used to brew the espresso have a huge impact on the taste and intensity of the espresso shot. Some brands like Sumatran, Guatemalan, and Kenyan have a bold taste, thanks to their disintegrated particles. Coffee from these places has a full body; therefore, a single shot can taste like 1.25 liquid ounces.

Plus, the coffee can be roasted in a wide range of methods to create numerous tastes. 

Espresso and Temperature

When making espresso, you must determine the water temperature before you start brewing. Unfortunately, the method of setting the right temperature differs with the machine being used. 

Generally, when preparing an espresso, you should set the water temperature between 90.5 and 96 degrees Celsius. Setting the temperature on a dual-boiler machine with a PID control can be quite easy. But with coffee brewers with heat exchange boilers, you will have to use flushes to adjust the machine's temperature.

For these machines, the temperature of the initial shot of water is above 96 degrees Celsius. So before installing the portafilter, you should turn it on briefly and allow it to flush out the hot water. Allow it to flush for a few seconds making sure that the water temperature has dropped below the boiling point.

Controlling the temperature of single-boiler machines with thermo-block boilers can be quite tricky. And that is because they have brew temperature swings of about 10 degrees Celcius depending on their heating cycles. So the best thing you can do is warm these machines up with the portafilters in the brew group. And then give it a short flush and then wait for the machine to indicate that it's back to brew temperature before brewing.

Espresso and Pressure

The pressure in most high-end espresso machines is normally calibrated in bars. If your machine doesn't read pressure in bars, you need to understand that one bar is equal to the atmospheric pressure. This translates to about 14.5 pounds per sq. in. And the espresso brewing process requires about eight or nine bars of pressure.

The extraction time is also an important factor when determining the amount of pressure. So measure the amount of time it takes your machine to brew 2 ounces of espresso. Remember, what you're looking for is between 20 and 30 seconds. After all, the extraction time and brewing pressure are controlled by adjusting the grind size. 

The brewing temperature also determines the brewing pressure. If the brewing time is over 30 seconds or below 20 seconds, try and adjust the grind size while keeping the amount of coffee constant. Go coarser to hasten the brewing time and finer to slow things down. After determining the grind size, you can adjust the dose to fine-tune your beverage. 

Espresso brewed using small-sized ground coffee will hold out against the flowing water. On the other hand, coarser beans will allow water to pass through faster, producing an under-extracted beverage. If you're working with high-quality coffee, then the grind size is the most crucial thing to consider. And being able to control temperature and dosing weight allows you to focus on the grind size that will guarantee you the best espresso.

The method of making an espresso is what distinguishes it from regular coffee. Find out what the differences between espresso and coffee here

Weight of the Ground Coffee Beans Used to Make Espresso

The ground coffee's weight must be in the right measurements if you plan on brewing a perfect beverage. To make a doppio, you will require about 18g of ground coffee, and for a single shot, you will need 9g. Therefore, you should use a double shot basket or scale when preparing espresso. But a double-shot basket will never produce accurate measurements.

How Long Should It Take to Pull a Double Shot?

Normally, pulling a single shot takes between 20 and 30 seconds. And if it takes less or more time, you'll need to check the size of your coffee grounds. After all, no one needs an over-extracted or under-extracted espresso shot.

Pulling a doppio should take the same amount of time as a solo shot since the double portafilter is made differently. The double portafilter has more holes that allow water to pass through faster.

Can a Coffee Lover Use Espresso to Lower His/Her Coffee Intake? 

A shot of espresso has about 63mg of caffeine, while the standard coffee has approximately 16mg of caffeine in an ounce. And since people drink more than 8 ounces of standard coffee, they take over 128mg of caffeine.

On the other hand, the caffeine content in espresso varies depending on numerous factors. Some of these factors are the preparation method, the quantity of coffee, and the type of coffee used. Therefore, if you want to reduce your caffeine intake, then espresso is the best option. You can also try cappuccino or latte, which is made using espresso.

Final Thoughts

For decades, this highly caffeinated drink has offered a unique alternative for coffee enthusiasts. And as a base for numerous beverages, it has offered intense tastes for people looking to enjoy a wide range of coffee drinks. After all, it is used as the base for numerous drinks, including café Mochas, cafe latte, and coffee Americano.

Espresso is served in single and double shots, which are quite small servings. And that is because it is a highly caffeinated drink prepared by passing hot water under high pressure through coffee beans. And to get the right amount of caffeine in an ounce of espresso, there are numerous variables you have to consider. Some of these variables include the brewing pressure, grind size, temperature, and time. Everything has to be measured correctly to get the right amount of caffeine in each shot.

In fact, a shot of espresso has about 63mg of caffeine which is almost four times the amount in a standard coffee. Therefore, it is the best option for people looking to reduce their coffee intake. It can give you the needed caffeine boost easily thanks to its high caffeine levels within seconds. And to make a shot of espresso, you will need about 7g of fine coffee grounds.


Born in Italy but currently brewing from the UK, Giada is a highly-caffeinated coffee expert with a soft spot for espressos. She worked in cafés for years and has recently fallen in love with the practical Kalita Wave (just don’t tell her Italian moka pot!).

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