Hello I have some problems when trying to get a perfect shot of espresso

The problem: So when the espresso begins to pour, the pressure is not high enought, and the color is dark. It takes about 3-5 seconds to reach the right presure and the right color.

So what can I do to get the right pressure when the espresso begins to pour out?

The equitment I'm using is:

Machine: Sage Barista express

Grinder: Mahlkönig Vario grinder (Right now the grind size i'm using is 3.d)

The beans roasting date: 19/06.

I'm using about 16g of grind coffee.

I'm Tamping at about 15kg

The extraction time is about 22.4 secound from I press the 'double shot' button.

What I have tried:

If I try to use a finer grind the pressure will just get way to high, but still use about 3-5 secound to reach espresso range.

If I try to use a coarser grind the pressure will never reach the espresso range.

1 Answer 1


This is completely normal, this is the pre-infusion phase.

Pre-infusion is used to wet the grounds before starting ideal espresso extraction. Wetting with hot water helps the grounds to release initial CO2, therefore enables more and even extraction surface. It somewhat resembles blooming in pour-over manual filtering.

As a result, you should feel lucky that you have this feature on your machine. By the way, I take a look and found this explanation on Sage's website:

Pre Infusion Function: Gradually increases water pressure to gently expand grinds for an even extraction. 

And a final note to enhance your cup of espresso...

As I can see, you end up in 22.4 - 5 = 17.4 seconds, which is pretty fast. The common practice is 1 ml in 1 second; therefore you should fill a 30 ml espresso in 30 seconds (with double spouts a doppio will take the same amount of time 60 ml in 30 seconds.) I recommend you try to fix timing first to see if you can get better results.

  • In the last part there is a small error. The pre-infusion is usually included as well, the timing is thus fine. If it tastes good there's no issue. Some roasts might need a few seconds more (not more than 30s though with pre infusion). And I would use a different recipe, ratios of 1:2 are common in specialty coffee (might be different for traditional Italian recipes). For 16g of coffee you should get around 32g of espresso (I would up the dose to 18-20g and pull around 40ml).
    – avocado1
    Jul 12, 2018 at 17:05
  • @avocado1 Sure, there are many recipes. I'm just trying to mention the most basic, well-known standard espresso as discussed here. And the pre-infusion... I think it's better to check the flow rate, if possible. But mostly it's too much effort. Some gadgets wet the ground then stop for few seconds, then start again. Some others, like this one, increase the pressure in a constant pace. The important point, I think, is the constant flow rate after pre-infusion.
    – MTSan
    Jul 12, 2018 at 21:46
  • It's important to keep in mind, that Italian espresso usually has Robusta in it which gives a lot of body and bitterness. You need a higher water:coffee ration as with todays pure Arabica blends and single origin Arabica beans. Whenever I write something here I am referring to specialty coffee since I think it better reflects todays world and is in general superior due to it's more science based approach. Secondly I meant to say, that you do not generally subtract the pre infusion time from the brewing time, so 22s including pre infusion is enough in my opinion depending on the coffee used.
    – avocado1
    Jul 13, 2018 at 8:55
  • another error is the "1 ml in 1 second". firstly, you should measure weight, not volume (how much of that is crema?) and secondly, a lungo should run shorter and a ristretto longer than a normal espresso.
    – ths
    Jul 13, 2018 at 11:49
  • I refer Ernesto Illy here as an expert in espresso when I say 1 ml per second. These are not my opinions. Please see Illy, Ernesto. "The complexity of coffee." Scientific American 286, no. 6 (2002): 86-91. I think, I hopefully explained what I thought about pre-infusion and why I subtracted the 5 (or 3) seconds. This could be the opinion-based part.
    – MTSan
    Jul 13, 2018 at 11:59

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