I've just taken the plunge, and purchased an Espresso machine. (Sage Express) I'm now officially an amateur barrista in the making. :)

From what I can gather, there are two important parameters in making the best possible coffee. (Well, three actually. But I'm keeping your personal choice of coffee beans out of the equation here.)

First is temperature of the water. The machine takes care of that for me. Check.

The next is how long it takes for the water to run through the grounded beans. This should be around 25 seconds. Your personal taste may make it a bit higher or lower.

Now I've got the grinding of the beans, and how coarse or fine that should be. Does this affect the taste directly, or is that just one parameter combined with how hard the beans are pressed, that goes into how long the water takes to run through? Or does this by itself have a more direct effect on the taste?

I can always try to experiment a bit, but would like to get a bit of insight beyond that. Thank you. :)

  • 2
    Hint: consider the difference in surface area and what this could mean for the extraction.
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 20:15
  • This may be true. And it may not. :-) I have no doubt, that by increasing the surface, you can shorten the time it takes to extract taste, oils etc. from the ground coffee. But at some time, you can't extract much more from it. So does it make a difference if you extract almost everything in 20 seconds or you cut that down to 10 seconds? The other way, may make a difference though. You may opt to make it coarser in order to not get everything and there by not as concentrated/intense taste. But if you are aiming at that, I'd rather go Americano by adding extra water.
    – Steen
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 9:03
  • 1
    Actually, when we prepare a "regular" coffee, we extract merely around 15% of the available amount of coffee flavor, solids, lipids, etc. Most of the time the art of brewing is finding out to extract the first 15% in a reasonable amount of time. You should keep the temperature high enough to extract, at the same time be quick to not let aromatics evaporate. So, you can have the correct flavor. Afterwards, you may still dilute it with water, milk, whisky, rum or whatever your taste is.
    – MTSan
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


Required reading for any aspiring home barista: https://www.home-barista.com/tips/espresso-101-how-to-adjust-dose-and-grind-setting-by-taste-t16968.html

Basically, coarseness of the grind influences the balance of bright and bitter flavors: coarser reduces bitter flavours, finer reduces acidic flavours. But it all interacts with the flow rate; see the diagrams in the linked article.

espresso flavour diagram

Tamping pressure itself is not really a factor, you should keep this constant and only modify grind and dose.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.