I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject but I do have an opinion on what is good espresso. First of all espresso is a coffee brewing method not some special type of coffee bean, a blend, or some special roasting method. All coffee drinks, regardless if it is espresso coffee, drip coffee, pour over coffee, etc., are brewed by using water filtered through coffee grounds to extract the soluble flavors from the coffee into the cup. A espresso shot is made from finely ground coffee that is packed into a tight puck with pressurized water forced through the puck to make a shot. In the Command unit I pull only double shots for reasons of efficiency, using 14-15 grams of freshly ground coffee, extracted at 9 bars of pressure, with water at 200-203 degrees, for 20-25 seconds. This will result in a double shot of espresso between 1.6-1.7 oz.
Now this gets into the crux of this post, the proper size of a double shot of espresso. Over the last couple of events I have had 5 or 6 customers order a double shot of espresso and after I make sure that the shot is up to my standards taste wise I present them with their drink. I want them to enjoy the taste of their espresso, which with the beans I use from Colorado River Coffee Roasters should be very chocolately with a hints of citrus and nuts. But every time, the first thing they ask after looking at how much coffee is in the cup is “This is a double?”. My answer is “Yes that is a double shot” and off they walk disappointed in the volume of the drink without even tasting it first. Now this was so troubling to me that after the event I had to make sure that I was not the crazy one here and broke out my books on coffee to lookup the typical sizes of a double shot of espresso. Now my double shots might be on the low end of the scale when it comes to volume but they are well within the 1.5-2 oz of a typical double shot.
What I would really like to know is where are these people going to get their double shots of espresso? I’ve never had a double shot at Starbucks or any chain coffee shop so I don’t know the size of their doubles. But I have had amazing double shots locally at Sunrise Coffee and Sambalatte which seem to also be less then 2 oz. I’ve also had awe inspiring doubles at Stumptown and Caffe Vita in Seattle, Intelligentsia in Pasadena and LAMILL in Los Angeles, all of which seemed to be less then 2 oz (although I didn’t have a measuring cup on hand to make sure). Can I make a 2-3 oz double shot of espresso? Sure, but with the parameters I listed above it would taste like crap. The taste is what matters here, not the volume, so let me apologize to all past and future customers who favor quantity of quality, I am not trying to rip you off but I am trying to give you the best cup of espresso that I can make and when it comes to that I will not sacrifice the quality of my product. If that is what you want than there are plenty of Starbucks around that can help you out.