10 Important Reasons Why Your Espresso Come Out Watery

If you find your espresso watery, you might wonder what happened and what you can do to solve it. Watery espresso is a common problem, and the good news is that there are several ways you can fix it.

Your espresso will come out watery for several reasons, including under-extraction, improper grind size, brew temperature, dose, and tamp size. If the tamping is not good and the coffee is too finely ground, your espresso will also come out watery. 

In this post, we give you valuable ideas of how you can prevent watery espresso. So, let’s get started!

Why Does My Espresso Taste Watery?

Most of the time, if you want to avoid watery-tasting espresso, make sure you use fresher coffee beans with finer grounds. However, if that solution still no work, you can try lowering or increasing the dose, opting for a darker roast, and ensure you are pulling at the ideal temperature, which is about 200˚F. 

Before tamping, ensure distributing the coffee grounds and double-check whether the machine’s pressure is correct. While several factors cause your espresso to taste watery, you need to make some changes to improve the result.

Avoid Under-Extracting 

Under-extracting is one of the reasons for watery espresso. Running this process too quickly can lead to water getting fewer oils from the coffee.

One of the reasons for this is that the coffee grounds aren’t fine enough. As a result, the water passes through it more quickly because the grind comes with larger spaces in it.

If you use lightly roasted, less oily beans, the water will pass through them more quickly. Lowe temperature can also cause under extraction because colder water is less active.

It also passes through the coffee grounds more quickly and picks up fewer oils from the coffee.

Use Fresh Beans

How fresh your coffee beans’ are can affect the way the espresso would taste. If you are using not fresh beans, it causes your espresso’s taste to become more watery and bland.

Bear in mind that after the roasting process, coffee beans age, and they start to oxidize while lowering how oily the coffee beans are. In other words, using old beans will result in a more watery taste.

It would be best if you used coffee beans anywhere from 2-3 weeks before roasting. Ensure to store the beans in a dry and cool place if you want to extend their freshness.

Once you grind the beans, use those beans as quickly as possible. Beware that ground beans start to diminish in flavor in roughly fifteen minutes after they are ground.

Check the Grind Size

When you use a coffee grind that is too coarse, the water will pass through it easier. As a result, you will get an espresso that tastes too watery. Ensure you use more fine grind to solve this issue.

If your coffee beans are not ground to a fine powder, it’s advisable to get a new grinder. You can go for a grinder that delivers an ultra-fine grind.

Brew Temperature

Another reason why your espresso tastes watery is the temperature you are pulling it at. Pulling the coffee at a lower temperature can result in more water taste. It occurs because less coffee is being dissolved into the water that passes through. It is advisable to pull your espresso at 195-205˚F.

Dose Correctly

As you probably know, an espresso recipe communicates the three main espresso brewing variables: dose, yield, and time. Dose refers to the dry ground coffee’s weight in the portafilter.

The dose can be anywhere from 5-30 g, depending on the espresso style. However, modern espresso weighs anywhere from 18-21 g.

A slow espresso shot is caused by too much coffee, while a faster shot results from too little coffee. The best thing you can do here is to experiment. 

While it takes a lot of practice to extract the perfect shot, patience will pay off. You can use a stopwatch to time the espresso shots. Keep in mind that your goal is a shot anywhere from 25-28 seconds.

Use the Right Sized Tamper 

If you want to ensure that your espresso tamper has the correct size, check if it is slightly smaller than the espresso machine filter basket’s inside diameter.

That way, you can ensure that your espresso will not get too watery while evenly compacting the ground coffee with no tamper binding.

You can determine the correct tamper size by measuring the filter basket’s inside diameter using machinist calipers. After that, choose a tamper that is a little smaller than that measurement. If you have no set of calipers, you can try using a 1/32″ steel measuring tape.

Tamp Good 

With a good tamp, resistance is created, making the water work hard to saturate the coffee ground. It also helps to extract a great coffee flavor.

On the other hand, if the grounds are uneven and loose, water finds the gap and goes through them rather than extracting flavor. Your espresso will also be flavorless and watery.

If you want to avoid this issue, follow the steps below:

  • Level the grounds 

Put the ground into the portafilter and ensure that they are even level before putting any pressure on it.

  • Use good form 

Turn the tamping-side hip toward your counter and then keep your elbow bent and your wrist straight to maintain good control while tamping. Hold your tamper as if you are grabbing a doorknob.

  • Apply 15 lbs of pressure 

A 15-pound pressure help forming a puck shape with the grounds. Bear in mind that even-handed pressure is as essential as force strength.

  • Apply 20-30 lbs of pressure 

After forming the puck, try pushing down harder to create a sturdy, compact puck. Then, apply 20-30 pounds of pressure. While pulling up to the puck, ensure to perform a twisting motion.

  • Inspect the puck 

Ensure that there are no open spots or gaps around and in the coffee. Do not forget to clean the portafilter’s edges by wiping off any spilled coffee grounds.

Avoid Too Coarse Coffee Puck or Not Enough Tamping 

Do you find the coffee grounds too slushy? Then, the grounds were not tamped enough or too coarse. As a result, there is a lot of space where water fills in. In the portafilter, you will find a sort of soup.

Another reason for a wet or slushy puck is that you have used too few grounds. Once they contact hot water, the grounds should expand and take up the remaining headspace between the group-head filter and coffee.

However, if the coffee is too little, the coffee has too much spare room, and it quickly goes anywhere. So, the result is too watery taste.

Do Not Use Too Finely Ground Coffee

Another reason for having a too watery espresso is that you used too finely ground coffee. Besides too watery taste, it will not yield a perfect shot. From there, you may notice that is something is wrong. So, before the machine backs itself up, ensure to turn it off.

Additionally, you may also notice that the ground is mixed with the water too much and resembles mud. If the filter is blocked, expect an even worse result.

Dry the Portafilter Before Adding More Coffee

If the espresso has been tamped too hard or has not been tamped enough, shot channeling can occur. As a result, there are weak spots in the puck. So, the water finds it easier to pass through those spots.

To solve this issue, try tamping the puck level and avoid tapping it on the side once completed. You can apply more pressure if the tamping is not strong enough.

Another reason for channeling the spot is that you have rinsed your portafilter, but you have no completely dried it before adding more ground. In return, water from the group-head finds those wet areas. Then, it travels more quickly in those spots.


Why did my espresso machine explode?

A: The espresso machine’s group-head is probably too hot. It also requires the right temperature. Ensure that there is no fizzling sound of boiling water after several ounces being flushed out.

Why is Starbucks’ Americanos often flavorless and watery?

A: The coffee beans at Starbucks are more likely to be dark roasted to deliver the body’s illusion to the palette. It also hides the truth that the beans come in very minimal flavor to start with. The coffee’s proportion dosed per shot to water volume is too low. This means the extraction ratio is inappropriate to the drink’s size.

Why does Keurig coffee taste watered down?

A: Your espresso machine might not get the right water temperature, or the water filtered through the k-cup quickly. Another possibility is that the k-cup size-to-coffee ratio, where some machines with smaller pods force the brew at a higher pressure.

Why is My Espresso Puck Watery

Many people, including some baristas, think that a watery or soupy puck is a sign that there is a problem with the espresso. But, in reality, it doesn’t mean much.

We have pulled thousands of shots; most were great, some not so, but we couldn’t find any causation between watery and not watery pucks.

You could cause a watery puck because of the grind size you are using and the volume of the espresso dose, or even the roast of coffee you are using.

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