Four common espresso mistakes that we make.

Does your espresso taste funny? Do you often wonder why you are unable to get that perfect shot? Brewing an espresso is one thing but improving and fine-tuning it is quite another. A bad espresso may lack body, or may be overly bitter, sour or even pungent. If that’s how your espresso tastes, you may be making these errors.

1. Using coffee that is not very fresh or is too fresh

Once roasted, the coffee bean retains its sensory qualities for few months in a sealed bag. After that it becomes rancid. Coffee too fresh is not ideal for consumption either.

2. Using coffee that is not freshly ground

Unlike coffee beans, which retain its qualities for several months, ground coffee can lose its aroma in a matter of minutes as the oxidation rate increases considerably due to the grounds being exposed to the air. Oxidised coffee will never make a good coffee. For a successful brew, it is important to have a coffee grinder in order to obtain fresh ground coffee, ground to the ideal fineness 

3. Inconsistent tamping

The extraction of coffee under high pressure is an advanced process. Using a correct tamping technique is necessary for even extraction. It is important that you apply consistent pressure to promote even distribution so that water that passes through the coffee manages to extract as much flavour as possible.

4. Not using the right brew ratio

A good espresso is produced when it is brewed under high pressure (9 BAR) at 90-95 degree Celsius water temperature in 20-30 seconds at a brew ratio close to 1:2. This makes the use of a coffee scale vital. The dose of grounds needs to be accurate to a tenth of a gram!


The whole art of brewing espresso consists of achieving the right calibration and high-quality beans in order to produce the best possible shot. Mastery of these parameters comes with experience and a certain amount of trial and error. For any coffee related questions, feel free to reach out to us.

About the Author

A curious coffee drinker with an acute bent for finding the best cup of coffee around, she went all the way to Rome (the espresso land) to do SCA Level 1 Barista Certification. In the last 4 years in specialty coffee, she has trained Baristas, tasted more than 100 different coffees, interacted with all kinds of coffee lovers and made so many cappuccinos! Her favorites include coffees from Ethiopia and Indian naturals.