Partners Coffee logo
Partners Coffee logo

All articles

Espresso TroubleshootingUpdated 5 months ago

Issues with espresso can be tricky to pin down, that's why we've compiled the following information to help with some of the most common issues we've experienced. Cafe-quality espresso takes patience and practice, but we're here to help you every step of the way! 

For the best home brewing experience, we recommend a home setup that includes an espresso grinder, as this will ensure the freshest possible coffee, as well as allowing the freedom to make any adjustments where necessary. However, the following suggestions can still be of great assistance where pre-ground coffee is being used.

General maintenance and cleaning is required for a well-running machine and grinder, so always be sure you're using equipment that is in the best shape possible for the best brew possible.


  • General:
    • Pressurized- Pressurized portafilters are designed to increase pressure during the espresso extraction process and help achieve the proper flow rate through ground coffee. Pressurized portafilters can be helpful with combating inconsistent grounds or puck prep and can still create crema, but can also create new issues as these pressurized portafilters restrict water flow and limit the extraction of flavor. The grind for a pressurized machine requires a coarser grind than a traditional espresso grind. 
    • Non-Pressurized- In a non-pressurized portafilter, the pressure created during espresso extraction would be determined by the coffee puck within the portafilter basket. Non-pressurized portafilter are available for purchase for some, but not all, machines, but require a greater attention to each espresso-brewing element than pressurized portafilters.
  • Time:
    • Too Quick-  A shot of espresso that brews too quickly is likely the result of a grind that is too coarse or a tamp that wasn't forceful enough, resulting in an under-extracted shot. 
      • Potential solutions in this case would be to use a finer grind setting and/or tamp with greater force.
    • Too Slow- A shot of espresso that brews too slowly is likely the result of a grind that is too fine or a tamp that was too forceful, resulting in an over-extracted shot. 
      • Potential solutions in this case would be to use a coarser grind setting and/or tamp with greater force.
  • Taste:
    • Sour- A shot of espresso that tastes sour and lacks sweetness is likely under-extracted and was pulled too quickly.
      • Potential solutions in this case would be to use a finer grind setting and/or tamp with greater force.
    • Bitter- A shot of espresso that tastes bitter and hollow is likely over-extracted and was pulled too slowly. 
      • Potential solutions in this case would be to use a coarser grind setting and/or tamp with greater force.


For more information, see Extraction &  Espresso Recipe

Was this article helpful?
Yes
No