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A single serving of espresso obviously isn’t very large. But how large is it really and do you get the same everywhere? Find out below.
In most cafes the standard serving size of a shot of espresso is 30 ml or 1 fl.Oz (28 ml). A double espresso is simply twice the size of a single espresso (56-60 ml). However, the traditional Italian serving size of a single espresso is 25 ml while at Starbucks a “solo” shot only measures 22.2 ml.
Below you can find out more about espresso serving sizes and how to best serve your fresh brew.
Single Espresso Shot Size
In most coffee shops around the world the standard serving size of a shot of espresso is 30 ml or 1 fl.Oz (28 ml). However, the traditional Italian serving size of a single espresso is 25 ml +-2.5 ml. The “Solo” espresso shot size at Starbucks only measures 0.75 Oz/22.2 ml.
Since making espresso is done by humans, there is always the chance that your barista does things differently and serves a slightly different espresso. There are no laws on how to make espresso so everyone can do it a little differently. In most coffee shops around the world, a single serving size of espresso is 30 milliliter. Of course a single milliliter is not a big amount and there is always a small variation possible in every cup.
While there are no laws, Italians take espresso very seriously and there is actually a national Italian institute for espresso (Instituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano). The existence of that institute should tell you something about how seriously they take it. And while in the rest of the world will take a few more liberties with how they make espresso, Most Italians certainly don’t and they set some core parameters a cup of espresso should adhere to to be certified by the abovementioned institute.
To get that certification there are a lot of requirements in skills and equipment but for what’s of interest to us is that they state that the “official” Italian espresso actually should be within 2.5 ml of 25 ml. That means the official size can be from 22.5 to 27.5 ml.
Starbucks espresso shots are a little different from what you get in most other coffee shops. A Starbucks “solo” espresso shot is only 0.75 Oz (22.2 ml) while their “doppio” measures 1.5 Oz (44.4 ml). This is significantly smaller than the standard in other places.
Espresso Shots Can Be Different Sizes Every Time
Good baristas will actually use a scale under the cup to make sure they get exactly the amount they want. It’s difficult to guess grams and milliliters by eye so the use of a coffee scale is very useful in getting consistent taste and serving sizes. Consistency is important for coffee shops. The customer wants the same cup of coffee every day. That’s what they expect. Using a scale is one part of getting that constancy.
If you need a good coffee scale for making espresso, check out the Timemore coffee scales. It will help you get the best espresso out of your manual espresso machine.
Because in espresso you’re using relatively little liquid, getting exactly the right amount is quite important. Because it’s a small serving, the tiniest differences can have a big impact on the taste. Making tasty espresso requires you to manage many different factors.
Even if you make espresso at home, it’s a good idea to use a scale. You might want to play around with all the different factors that create a certain taste. Which I understand, it’s fun to see what kind of different tastes you can get. However, to compare one shot to the next, you just want to change one variable. A scale helps you keep some other variables the same.
If you don’t want to measure the right amount of coffee into your cup and make the right amount of espresso every time, an automatic espresso machine might be a better option. That way you only have to push a button and it does everything for you. Click here to find out more about types of espresso machines.
How Big Is a Double Shot Of Espresso
A double espresso is a popular drink for those who need a bit more caffeine to get into gear. But how big is a double espresso exactly?
The serving size of a double espresso is simply double that of a single. In most places that means you get 55-60 ml. (2 Oz.) Of course the exact size of a double shot depends on the serving size of a single espresso in your specific coffee shop.
In many coffee shops, you actually get a double espresso as standard which means you get 60 grams of espresso. This is the standard in many places because 30 grams is very little liquid and most people want more than that.
The ratio of coffee grounds to liquid in the cup is 1:2 to 1:2.5 for espresso. That means to make 30 grams of espresso, you need 12-15 grams of coffee grounds. To make a double espresso, you then have to double that to 24-30 grams of coffee grounds.
So for a double espresso the amount of coffee grounds AND liquid in the cup is doubled. A double espresso is not more water pushed through the amount of grounds for a single shot.
If you want to have an espresso type drink but slightly less strong, ask your barista for a Lungo. This means the same amount of coffee grounds as for a single shot of espresso but more water is pushed through it. The ratio for a Lungo is 1:3 to 1:4. This way you end up with 45-60 ml of coffee just like a double espresso but the coffee is a bit weaker.
How Big Is An Espresso Cup?
What about the actual cup the shot of espresso is served in? How big is it and what does it look like?
You don’t want that 30 ml a single espresso measures to be served in a large 16 oz. mug. It will look stupid and actually ruin the drinking experience of your espresso. You want something that presents the drink nicely and also provides a good drinking experience.
The standard cup for espresso is a white china cup that can hold 50-100 ml. The rim of the cup should be quite thick to accent the viscous texture of an espresso. For a single serving you want something closer to 50 ml than to 100 ml. For a double espresso you want the cup to be closer to 100 ml.
While a shot of espresso only measures about 30 ml, you do need a slightly bigger cup. Of course the first reason is that you don’t want to fill a cup all the way. Filling a cup all the way makes serving and drinking difficult and doesn’t look good. The second reason is crema. A sign of a good espresso is the crema on top. The crema is simply a bit of foam that’s created by the CO2 in the coffee grounds and the pressure an espresso machine works at. Of course foam takes up more space that normal liquid and you need a bit more space for it in your cup.
Recommended Espresso Equipment
Besides an espresso machine, there are a few other tools that can make your espresso better. Here are my favorites:
- Espresso Machine: The Breville Barista Express (Amazon) is the sweet spot in price and quality for most casual home baristas. It comes with a built in grinder and most tools you need to brew espresso.
- Tamper: A nice tamper helps you tamp your grounds in the filter for the best result. Any correctly sized tamper can do the job but a nice heavy one just feels so much better in your hand than a plastic model. This Luxhaus one (Amazon) has a nice trick up it’s sleeve to make tamping very consistent.
- Beans: Good espresso starts with good beans. Using fresh beans is a big improvement over pre-ground coffee.
- Scales: Getting consistently good espresso means you have to know how much grounds is going into the machine and how much is coming out and how long this takes. A coffee scale is going to make your espresso much more consistent and also makes adjustments a lot easier. The Apexstone coffee scale (Amazon) is cheap and doesn’t look too sleek but is just as accurate as more expensive scales. The TimeMore scales (Amazon) look and feel a lot nicer but cost a bit more.
- Grinder: To make the best of your fresh beans, a good grinder is necessary. Espresso requires a good grinder to get the best results. The Baratza Sette 30 (Amazon) is a good espresso grinder that can also be used for other brewing methods and while not cheap, is good value for money. If you prefer hand grinders, the 1ZPresso JX-PRO is one of the best options (Amazon)
- Distribution tool: After grinding you can get some clumps in the coffee grounds. Those clumps should be broken up so the water can extract all the coffee grounds equally. Distribution tools are very simple things but this one (Amazon) is beautifully made and will look good in your kitchen.