Brew ratio for my espresso

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by lesafir »


I bought a new Krups XP3208 manual machine with pressurized filter and very good pressure of 15 bar.

Now, I am adjusting my perfect espresso, I arrive at the following configuration:

Gram: 7g
Output: 35ml
Ratio: 1:5
Grinding: fine (it is not at its maximum)
Extraction time: 10s (the pressurized filter has a double outlet nozzle)
The extraction is good, the water flows normally, the taste is balanced.

We are far from the Italian espresso at 7g, 25ml, 25s, ratio 1: 3.5

The pressure of 15 Bar plays an important role because it accelerates my extraction time, suddenly the cup fills up quickly.

Do you give importance to the extraction time? If I aim for 1: 3.5, I have to stop after 7 seconds.

Any opinions please? Thank you.

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#2: Post by DamianWarS » replying to lesafir »

welcome to the wonderful world of espresso.

espresso doesn't have carved in rules and you're always the best judge of your own experience. With that said it is a good idea to try and get the general guidelines of espresso down to understand how things like grind size or time impact the espresso. These guidelines are 2:1 ratio (2 grams of yield for every 1 gram of coffee) so if you have 7gr of coffee you're looking for 14gr of yield (the espresso). You also want to try and accomplish this in a 25-30s window regardless of how large your dose is. If you have 7gr dose or 21gr dose you still want the coffee to be exposed to water for the same amount of time to get the same sort of extraction. if you go too quickly the coffee will be under-extracted so you want to ensure the coffee has enough contact with water to accomplish the right level extraction for the coffee. The way to stretch time is generally to grind finer as this puts more resistance on the puck and causes water to pass through it at a slower rate or slower flow. Another way to increase the time would be to increase the dose. You've been using a single dose of 7gr, perhaps you want to try and double basket at 14gr? Each espresso basket has an amount of coffee it's designed for so read your manual and see what the amount is for the baskets you're using and I would start with those amounts. So if you have a 16gr basket use 16gr of coffee. If 16gr of coffee doesn't fit in there it's a sure sign you haven't grinded fine enough

the XP3208 seems like an entry level home espresso machine and it is going to have it's limits. It probably has pressurized portafilter which means it forces coffee to pass through an a certain pressure regardless how of the coffee you put in. This allows you to use a coarser grind and still get crema out of it but it tends to suffer in the quality of the espresso. Other issues may be related to temperature control and your machine may have unstable temps going high and low which is going to effect how the extraction works. I don't know if you can find a non-pressurized portafilter for this machine but if you can and are interested in this sort of level then I would suggest to do so. When you turn on the machine and it is heating up often times a light turns on saying it's heated up and I wold start the shot immediately when this light turns on and you will better guarantee the temp is about the same each time otherwise it may take another 5 or 10 min before it is triggered to heat again and during this time the temp is dropping.

lesafir (original poster)

#3: Post by lesafir (original poster) »

Thank you very much for your answer, yes you have to change the basket by a non-pressurized basket, it is essential, I will do it.

Now I have a question for you if you can help me.

What is the best possible configuration to serve a cup with my portafilter (dual outlet) ... 622248.jpg

1) I use a 7g basket, I serve a cup.
2) I use a 14g basket, I serve two cups.
3) I use a 14g basket, I serve a cup.

The extraction time will not be the same for the 3 cases.

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#4: Post by Jeff »

First, you should know that many of these inexpensive machines (this one is $120 new) have limitations beyond the pressurized portafilter, you may want to consider if you are throwing money at an insolvable problem before buying more machine-specific gear.

At James Hoffmann at 5:33 pretty much says that with a Krups machine that seems very much like yours that you've got no hope of making good espresso due to is complete lack water dispersion. It just pours water down the middle. He describes problems that correspond with your results -- symptoms of extreme channeling.

"15 bars" is actually a disadvantage. Espresso is typically brewed in the 6-9 bar range, with many agreeing that the quality of flavor diminishes above that. By the time you get to 15 bar, the puck of coffee behaves very differently than it does at lower pressures. It compacts so much that the flow actually goes down as you increase the pressure, rather than the more expected turn up the pressure and the flow goes up with it. Better machines have pressure limiting devices in them.

If you've got a machine that is behaving as a conventional one (in contrast to one intended for pressurized baskets), the ratio and time will remain about the same. The size of the basket sets the rough range for the dose. For example, an "18 g" basket may be good for a range over 16-19 g. The exact dose is a choice. The grind then gets adjusted to get the flow rate for the basic recipe (finer for lower flow, coarser for faster flow). From the basic recipe, there are then slight tweaks, typically in grind, that are made to "adjust to taste".

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#5: Post by Nunas »

I had one of those inexpensive espresso machines a long time ago. You can stop channeling easily. Just cut a piece of ordinary coffee basket paper the size of the top of your coffee grounds and place it over the top after you tamp. This will disperse the water coming from the group and stop it from digging little holes in the coffee puck, which is one thing that leads to channeling. There is a manual coffee maker called an Aeropress. It uses round paper disks to filter. For some machines, these are just the right size to fit atop the coffee. If it's too big you can trim with scissors. Or, if it is just a little too big you can put it in place and press it down with your tamper. You don't want the paper to be on top of the portafilter, or you'll have a leak. It has to be inside the portafilter, atop the coffee. Your coffee won't likely win any awards of excellence :D but every once in a while you'll pull a really nice shot. Beware, this can lead to spending increasing amounts of money on equipment to be able to create such shots consistently :lol: Bonne chance!

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#6: Post by DamianWarS »

lesafir wrote:Thank you very much for your answer, yes you have to change the basket by a non-pressurized basket, it is essential, I will do it.

Now I have a question for you if you can help me.

What is the best possible configuration to serve a cup with my portafilter (dual outlet) ... 622248.jpg

1) I use a 7g basket, I serve a cup.
2) I use a 14g basket, I serve two cups.
3) I use a 14g basket, I serve a cup.

The extraction time will not be the same for the 3 cases.
you should aim for the extraction time to be the same for all 3 cases in about a window of 25-30s with a ratio of 2:1. Time is something you control through things like the dose you're using or how fine the coffee is. If you want a brew time of 25 seconds but you're currently doing 20 seconds letting it go an extra 5 seconds won't fix it because it just means there is 5 seconds more of water flowing through the coffee bed and you will just end up with a larger yield.

example 1. 7g of coffee aim for 14g yield (yield is the amount of espresso achieved). Time the shot as soon as the pump turns (basically as soon as you press the button) on and stop the shot as soon as it reaches its yield. To do this you need to set of scales under your shot and watch it as it fills. Stop the timer when you stop the shot. Time here is information on how how well the shot went. If it was too fast grind finer and try again, if it was too slow grind coarser and try again. when it reaches 25-30s to get 14g yeild from a 7g dose you know you've got the grind in the right window.

As others have indicated your machine is not going to be pulling the best shots in the world. Someone brought up a video from James Hoffmann who basically trashes the Krups espresso machine. He is not wrong and it will have its deficits but it doesn't mean you can't experiment with the machine and try and accomplish the best that it can do. You can do tricks like putting an AeroPress filter paper at the bottom of the basket, preparing your coffee and tamp then put another Aeropress filter at the top of the filter. This effectively acts as a bandaid for challenling problems and it will improve your shots.

Espresso is not a push button sort of thing and it takes time and practice and a lot of fiddling around. If you enjoy this process then see what you can do with this machine and when you're ready maybe consider an upgrade. Cheap machines have their limits but it shouldn't discourage you from learning with what you've got in front of you. Plus bad espresso can still make good lattes.


#7: Post by jonathan.khong »

Hi DamianWarS,

It's really nice to see you helping out people with domestic pressurised portafilter espresso machines in 2020!

I personally have a similar situation, a Krups XP5200 series (pressurised portafilter) and a modded Delonghi Kg89 (to achieve even finer grounds).
Following the 1:2 ratio utilising the finest setting on my grinder for grounds, my results are:

12grams of grounds to yield 24g of espresso in 8 seconds.

I understand that the time should be about 21-30 seconds, hence potential under-extraction? I'm pretty sure the grounds are espresso level fine and hence my question is, is this just the nature of pressurised machines? If so, potentially would I be better off letting it extract longer to get 'more flavour' to offset the under-extraction but with larger liquid volume?

Many thanks in advance again!


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#8: Post by MatGreiner »

Finer grinding will be critical to slowing the extraction time, and likely also the trickiest part to solve. Additionally, +1 the paper filter suggestion.
Should either of you decide to reinvest but still have modest budgets, something like the flair or robot manual lever machines would give better performance.
My first espresso machine was even less sophisticated, and as I recall a blazing hot water temperature caused a lot of scorched flavors. Trying to do some cooling flushes and experimentation to find out where lower temperature gives better flavor may be helpful.
LMWDP #716: Jeez, kids! Don't swing on that!


#9: Post by jonathan.khong » replying to MatGreiner »

Hi MatGreiner,

Thanks so much for posting a reply! Will try out the paper filter method.
Regards to reinvesting, I've been thinking about getting into manual espresso as I hope to not have to deal with temperature surfing with entry prosumer Gaggia and the sorts (kindly correct me if I'm wrong). I know the flair and robot are very fussy about heating up the basket and so I've been looking into the La Pavoni. However, I'm not sure if I can save some money by using my existing KG79/89 mod (it'll reach the level of fineness as shown in this video -

Also do you think it's worth getting one with pressure gauge to pull a good shot? Or can you work out by using time, grind size and shot observation as variable indicators?

Thanks again for the support here!

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#10: Post by Jeff »

The Robot is not very fussy about temperature at all. It is much easier to manage than a La Pavoni.

There is a long thread here Cafelat Robot User Experience

For many, many reasons, that is not a video that I would strive to repeat.

The fineness of the grinds is only one part of a grinder being suitable for espresso. It also needs to be both uniform and easily and finely controllable in grind, preferably without steps. Even with a machine as good as a Robot, a $160 Delonghi KG89 grinder is likely to be the limit and that limit may be before you can reliably make good espresso.