Home Brew Guide — Espresso – Old Spike
Specialty coffee espresso coffee extraction from portafilter

Home Brew Guide — Espresso

Dialling in and optimising your espresso.

Making espresso at home can be both beautiful and painful in equal measures. Of all the home brewing methods, it requires the largest investment to perfect, but getting that treacly extraction and delicate balance between sweetness and acidity makes it all worth it. Brewing ratio, dose and grind size all play a crucial role in the taste, mouth feel and overall experience of your cup.

It may sound obvious, but exceptional espressos always start with great coffee. Selecting sweet and sticky specialty beans roasted specifically for espresso, or a considered omni-roasted coffee that can still express its characteristic once extracted through a portafilter is your best bet.

Old Spike flat white specialty coffee with love heart latte art

Brew Ratio: 

The brew ratio will be dictated and shifted accordingly by the style of roast you are using.

Darker Espresso Roast: 

If using a slightly darker espresso roast that exhibits a fuller body and moderate acidity, a brew ratio of 1:2 tends to be best. Meaning you should expect double the weight in yield as you start with in the portafilter basket. 

Lighter Roast: 

If using a lighter roast that exhibits a heightened acidity, a bre ratio of 1:2.5 . This means that you should expect 2.5x the weight in yield as you start with in the portafilter basket respectively. 


Like any good experiment, it’s important to have a control variable. Whilst maintaining the brew ratios stated above, increasing the dose will increase the texture and intensity of the cup, while reducing the dose will reduce the intensity and enhance cup clarity. In any case, this comes down to preference, so altering doses, tasting and repeating is key. 

 Specialty ground coffee in a portafilter making an espresso

Grind Size: 

Once a consistent brew ratio and dose are maintained, changing the grind size will be the determining factor for the overall balance of your cup. 

If you're experiencing a bitter finish to your coffee (usually experienced at the back of your tongue), it has likely been over extracted. Try maintaining your brew ratio and dose while making the grind size more coarse to balance your extraction and increase flavour clarity. 

If you're experiencing an acidic finish to your coffee (usually experienced at the sides of your tongue), it has likely been under extracted. Try maintaining your brew ratio and dose while making the grind size more fine to balance your extraction and provide a more rounded flavour.  


What we’re brewing: 

Try our Arnhem Blend, a rich chocolatey blend omni-roasted to give a sweet and balanced espresso. You can also find this in the hopper across our cafe locations. 



Sage Bambino espresso machine

Coffee grinder

Coffee scales  



Brewing ratio: 1:2 / 1:12.5 

Dose: 18g

Yield: 36g / 45g 

Extraction time: 28-35 seconds.