The best resources for brewing the best espresso

A great (but not perfect!) looking shot snapped by Scott Schiller (cc by 2.0)

I’ve been making espresso as my daily caffeine fix for more than a decade, but I only really started to research making the best possible espresso in the last few years. In that time, I’ve found a few great resources and lots of not so great ones. Here’s a list of the posts and articles and videos I’ve found most useful.

  • Brew Ratios Around the World (Ben Blake/Scott Callender, La Marzocco)
    A great outline of the broad categories of espresso recipes, like ristretto, lungo, normale. There is not one best recipe, and brew ratio is a matter of preference.
  • Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste (Jim Schulman, Home Barista)
    To me, this is the definitive guide on dialing in a grinder and familiarizing yourself with the broad character changes you should expect when changing variables like grind and dose.
  • Espresso Recipes video (below), Matt Perger of Barista Hustle
    A great guide on dialing in higher-yield shots aimed at maximizing extraction. This video really opened my mind to ratios beyond the ristretto.
  • Value Subtracted Espresso (Jim Schulman, Home Barista)
    This presentation from Jim covers a lot of topics I found insightful, but I really love it just for this one graph below, which to me was totally revelatory. I used to only brew ristrettos as I found that higher yield had a 1:1 correlation with higher bitterness. Until I saw this graph, I never realized that I wasn’t extracting far enough! If you do so, the bitter components are balanced out by things extracted later, producing the best results overall:

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