What Is A Coffee Shot Made Of? (Detailed Guide)

We can all agree that life would not be the same without coffee, but have you ever queried why there are so many different types of coffee? Once upon a time, if you asked for a coffee, you would get a mug of dark liquid; now, there are so many different coffee drinks of all sizes available. Many coffee beverages are made using coffee shots, but what is a coffee shot precisely?

A shot of coffee is made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans in an espresso machine to create a concentrated liquid topped with crema. A shot of coffee is commonly known as espresso. It takes a one-ounce coffee shot to make a single espresso and a two-ounce shot at making a double espresso.

Making espresso requires a skill that takes a good bit of practice over time. However, there is a right way to make a coffee shot, and when you put in the effort, the result is a very satisfying, rich espresso. Let’s look at the steps required to make the delicious drink.

What Is A Coffee Shot Made Of

How Do You Make A Coffee Shot?

If you hope to make top-notch espresso at home, you will need to invest in a countertop espresso machine. There are a few other methods to get close to creating great espresso, but for better taste, quality and consistency, you will need a machine. Consider the following at-home espresso recipe:


  • Weigh 9 grams of roast coffee for a single shot, and 18 grams of coffee for a double shot
  • Espresso machine


1. Grind the coffee to a fine grind; the ideal texture is similar to granulated sugar. Different brands, blends, and roasts need a different grind for your machine.

The grind texture is an essential aspect of shot quality, consider practicing a few test runs to correct the “dial-in.” Make sure you grind fresh whole beans.

Too fine a grind will cause an over-extracted shot that generally tastes burnt and bitter. Too coarse a grind will produce an under-extracted weak shot that is weak and tastes sour.

The right dose for a double shot is 14 to 18 grams, although this depends on your machine and preference.

2. Pack the coffee grounds into the portafilter until there is a little mound over the top. Tamp the grounds evenly, pressing down firmly until you have compressed the beans.

The proper way to tamp is by holding your elbow at 90 degrees. It is best to have a cloth or towel on the counter to have something to press onto when you are tamping.

It’s essential for the grounds to be as even as possible to achieve the best espresso shot.

3. Pull your shot by placing the portafilter in the machine’s brew head and placing your cup underneath it. Get out your timer to time the shot and press the button to brew the espresso.

Many home espresso makers have an automatic switch for this. You will know you have pulled a good shot as it will take between 25 to 30 seconds to achieve a deep, rich espresso with a rich crema.

4. Make the necessary adjustments as it can take a while to hone in the coffee grind and tamping method. You don’t need to get the process right the first time.

If the shot is too watery, use slightly more grounds or a finer coffee grind. Reduce the number of coffee grounds if the shot takes longer than thirty seconds


Once you have mastered the dose, grind, and tamp, the first part of the brew will be dark before turning golden brown with a foamy layer that flows into your cup without breaking.

The water volume for each shot should be one ounce, so after you have reached two ounces for your double shot, stop brewing and check the timer; the perfect brewing time is between 25 to 30 seconds.

How Strong Is A Coffee Shot?

One ounce of espresso can produce between 30 to 50mg of caffeine. One standard double shot (1.5 ounces) of espresso consists of about 60 to 100 mg caffeine. However, there are variances between shots due to different factors:

  • Different cafes use different recipes; one café may use 22g of beans for a coffee shot, while another might only use 16g. Understandably, this will lead to different caffeine levels.
  • There are differences between coffee beans. Beans from different countries or different sides of the mountain can produce varying caffeine levels.

Is An Espresso Shot stronger Than Regular Coffee?

The answer to whether an espresso shot is stronger than ordinary coffee depends on how much you drink. While there is nothing like espresso to wake you up after a late-night, the question remains if it contains more caffeine than a regular cup of Joe.

There is about 63mg of caffeine in one ounce of espresso; on the other hand, regular coffee has between 12 and 16mg of caffeine per ounce, generally speaking.

Ounce for ounce, espresso contains more caffeine, but you would typically drink eight times as much. Eight ounces of your homebrew gives you between 95 to 128mg of caffeine.

Different factors can affect the caffeine level for espresso and coffee, including the type of bean, brand, roast, the amount of coffee needed to make a cup, and how it’s prepared (French Press, espresso machine, brewed, cold-brewed, etc.)

It is widely believed that espresso offers a greater jolt than a regular cup of Joe, but it comes down to is the size of the espresso shot. A small serving of espresso will lead you to drink it faster than a cup of coffee – it’s not a beverage to drink if you are looking to linger.

How Long Should A Shot Of Coffee Take?

The ideal espresso brewing time is between 25 to 30 seconds. If you tend to go over or under that time, you must check your grind, dose, and tamp pressure and tweak accordingly.

If shots are coming out choppily from both spouts, you need to put even pressure on your tamp.

The perfect coffee shot has a fine, gold, foamy crema resting above the dark, rich brew. Be sure to mix the crema right in before sipping.

How Much Coffee Should You Use For One Shot Of Espresso?

A single espresso shot requires about seven to nine grams of coffee grinds to produce one fluid ounce. A double espresso shot ( or doppio ) needs 14 to 18 grams of coffee to produce two fluid ounces.

The 1:2 water ratio produces a standard espresso shot. However, this can change according to what you want, whether a single espresso or a lungo. The ideal coffee to water ratio is approximately 1:3 for a lungo, while a ratio of 1:1 is perfect for a ristretto.

Espresso is the main component of many coffee beverages, so even if you don’t like the concentrated liquid shot, you still need to know how to measure it if you wish to make other drinks.

The following coffee beverages begin with one fluid ounce of a perfectly measured espresso shot:

  • Americano – espresso shot with hot water
  • Latte – one part espresso, two parts warm milk, topped with a foamy layer
  • Cappuccino – equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam
  • Macchiato – shot of espresso topped with a little foam
  • Frappe – espresso with milk and ice

While buying your coffee in bulk may seem more cost-effective, it’s better to buy it in small batches to guarantee that your brew is always fresh. No matter how you make your coffee, you must keep one thing in mind: to use freshly roasted beans.

How Many Shots Of Espresso Is Lethal?

It is believed that drinking 76 to 156 espresso shots in one day could be lethal. You will know you have consumed too much caffeine if you feel jittery afterward.

Individuals vary in their reactions to caffeine – some get the jitters, while others can drink an entire pot of coffee. Severe caffeine overdoses are rare as you would have to drink over 100 cups of coffee in a day.

To get the full benefits of coffee without risking adverse effects, you should stick to drinking no more than six espresso shots.

The FDA advises consuming no more than 400mg of caffeine per day. That’s a little more than six espresso shots. Just keep in mind that tolerance to caffeine varies between individuals.

A few factors impact your ability to handle a cup of coffee or more like your weight, what you have consumed, and your sensitivity to caffeine.

Final Thoughts

Shots of Coffee are simply concentrated coffees served in tiny cups (known as demitasse cups) and called espresso.

Espresso is made by hot pressurized water forcing its way through extremely fine coffee grinds in an espresso machine, and the result is a rich dark liquid with a delicious crema floating on top.

The crema enhances the lingering aftertaste of the espresso. Espresso contains similar flavors to a cup of coffee, only much more intensified.

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