How many coffee beans are needed to make a single shot of espresso?

Posted on 28/04/2023

Espresso is a coffee brewing method that originated in Italy.
In Italian, espresso means “express” or “fast” because espresso coffee machines can make coffee quickly compared to other methods. Espresso is made by spraying hot water at high pressure to extract the ground coffee and produce a concentrated drink.
Espresso is not only served as a separate drink, but is also used as the basis for other coffee drinks such as: caffe latte, cappuccino, caffe macchiato, caffe mocha, flat white, and caffe americano. Because of the popularity of this drink, espresso is one of the standard drinks to be made at the World Barista Championship which is the most prestigious international coffee event organized by World Coffee Events (WCE).

Coffee connoisseurs may already know that espresso can be served in single shot (solo) or double shot (doppio). The differences between the two include differences in coffee volume, caffeine content, gram of ground coffee, type of portafilter, and extraction time. Double shot grammatically and the volume of liquid is twice as much as a single shot so that the double shot has a higher caffeine content.
In today's modern times, the calculation ratio for making espresso varies more along with the technological developments of the tools used in making coffee. Sometimes the standard for making espresso for each cafe is also different. But traditionally, a single shot espresso is made using 7 grams of coffee beans which are ground to produce an espresso with a volume of 30 ml which is then served in a demitasse glass (half cup).

Coffee beans for making espresso

Coffee beans vary in size and weight. When still in the form of cherries, coffee weighs an average of 5.7 g. After the cherries are peeled and are in the form of green beans, their average weight is 0.17 gr. When roasted, coffee beans lose 15% to 18% by weight. Dark roast coffee beans have an average weight of 0.12 gr. Light roast coffee beans are heavier than dark roasts because they still contain a lot of water and oil content compared to dark roasts. The longer it is roasted, the lighter the coffee beans are because they lose more water content.
There are no specific specifications regarding espresso related to the coffee beans used, the blend method, or the roasting level. All coffee beans with different grind methods and roast levels can be used to make espresso. For example, espresso can be made using the liberica type of Batanga coffee or the Arabica type of Toraja coffee. In Italy, people on the southern side prefer dark roasts, while those further north prefer light roasts. Dark roast coffee is generally more popular due to people's assumptions about its caffeine content and thicker and distinctive taste.
The number of coffee beans in an espresso

So, how many coffee beans are needed to produce a single shot of espresso? Based on the information previously stated, a single shot espresso uses 7 grams of ground coffee. We will also use dark roast beans as a reference for calculations. With a dark roast coffee bean weighing 0.17 grams, to produce ground coffee weighing 7 grams you will get the number 41.176. It can be concluded that a single shot espresso dish requires approximately 42 dark roast coffee beans. This amount may be less for light roast coffee beans.

Of course this is just a simple calculation. This calculation does not involve more complicated variables such as coffee bean storage conditions, type and origin of coffee beans, temperature, soil type, and so on. But at least our curiosity has been answered and made us appreciate a glass of espresso that we enjoy more or even make you want to try a sip of Toraja Coffee espresso.