How many coffee beans equal an espresso?

The number of coffee beans used to make an espresso shot depends on a few factors, including the size and type of espresso machine, the grind size, and personal preferences. On average, a single espresso shot uses approximately 7-9 grams of ground coffee. Given an average coffee bean weight of 0.12 grams, this equals approximately 58-75 coffee beans per shot.

Quick Answer

An espresso shot on average contains 58-75 coffee beans, using 7-9 grams of finely ground coffee.

How Many Grams in an Espresso Shot?

A standard single espresso shot is generally around 25-30ml in volume. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) recommends using 7 grams of coffee beans per 25ml shot. This translates to approximately 9-11 grams of ground coffee per 30ml shot.

However, the exact amount can vary based on factors like:

  • Type of espresso machine – Prosumer and commercial machines often use a higher dose around 18-22 grams.
  • Grind size – Finer grinds lead to denser pucks requiring less dose.
  • Roast type – Darker roasts are denser than lighter roasts.
  • Personal taste – Some prefer stronger, bolder shots using more coffee.

For a balanced espresso, most experts recommend sticking to the 7-9 gram SCAA guideline. But feel free to experiment to find your perfect dose!

Steps to Calculate Beans Per Shot

Figuring out the number of beans in an espresso shot involves just a couple simple steps:

  1. Decide on coffee dose – Determine amount of ground coffee in grams, usually 7-9g.
  2. Estimate bean weight – Coffee beans average around 0.12g each.
  3. Divide dose by bean weight -Beans = Dose (g) / 0.12 (g/bean)

So for example, with a standard 7 gram dose:

Beans = 7 (dose) / 0.12 (bean weight) = 58 beans

Average Number of Beans in Espresso

Based on the standard parameters, the number of coffee beans in an average espresso shot lands within the following range:

  • Minimum: 7g dose / 0.12g per bean = 58 beans
  • Maximum: 9g dose / 0.12g per bean = 75 beans

So in summary, a typical single espresso shot will contain 58-75 coffee beans on average.

Coffee Bean Origins and Flavors

Coffee beans contain over 800 chemical compounds that impact flavor when roasted. The natural flavors originate from the bean’s variety, origin, processing method, and degree of roast.

Arabica vs Robusta

There are two main commercial coffee species – Arabica and Robusta:

  • Arabica – Sweeter, softer, and more aromatic. Used for high quality coffee.
  • Robusta – Harsher, grainer, and higher caffeine. Often used in cheaper blends.

Arabica beans are far more popular for espresso, providing a pleasant flavor profile. Robusta is sometimes added to espresso blends in small amounts for increased crema and caffeine level.

Growing Regions

Arabica coffee is cultivated around the tropical regions near the equator. Three key regions produce most of the Arabica coffee used for specialty espresso:

  • Latin America – Central and South America. Bright, balanced, chocolatey.
  • Africa – Kenya, Ethiopia. Intense, fruity, winy.
  • Asia – India, Indonesia. Herbal, earthy, exotic.

The terroir impacts coffee flavor based on soil, climate, elevation, processing method and more.

Roast Level

Heating green coffee beans to high temperatures via roasting causes chemical changes altering their flavor:

  • Light – Roasted minimally. Maintains origin character.
  • Medium – Moderate roasting. Balanced flavor.
  • Dark – Extended roasting. Deep, rich, chocolate notes.

Darker roasts involve more mass loss, requiring more beans to achieve the same 7-9 gram espresso dose.

How Grind Size Changes Dose

The grind size affects the density of the coffee bed in the espresso basket, changing the dose required:

  • Finer grind – Denser coffee bed, requires less dose.
  • Coarser grind – Less dense bed, requires more dose.

With proper grinding, a fine grind allows full flavor extraction using just 7 grams of coffee.

Ideal Espresso Grind Size

The ideal espresso grind size is fine with a powdery texture, though not as fine as Turkish coffee. Some characteristics of a proper grind:

  • Particle size around the width of a human hair
  • Should clump together slightly but remain loose
  • Extracts to reddish-brown, without bitterness

Ideally the grind is adjusted specifically for your machine and coffee to optimize extraction.

Strength Based on Dose

The coffee dose has a direct impact on espresso strength:

  • Lower dose (58 beans) creates a milder, sweeter espresso
  • Higher dose (75 beans) makes a bolder, intensified espresso

Higher doses extract more solubles from the coffee beans, increasing body and bitterness if overextracted. Lower doses allow more subtle flavors but may taste watery.

Number of Beans for Double Shots

A double espresso shot contains about twice the amount of coffee:

  • Single shot: 7-9 grams coffee
  • Double shot: 14-18 grams coffee

This doubles the number of beans to approximately 116-150 per double espresso.

However, the bean amount can still vary based on grind size, roast type, and personal taste in dose.

Effects of Espresso Bean Age

Coffee beans are best consumed within 1-2 months after roasting for optimal freshness. Over time, the beans oxidize and degrade:

  • 2 weeks – 1 month: Peak flavor, full aromatics.
  • 1-3 months: Small quality loss, still very enjoyable.
  • 3-6 months: Noticeable stale flavor, less crema.
  • 6+ months: Poor quality, papery taste.

Older beans require higher doses to extract properly. An extra 1-2 grams per shot may be needed after a few months.

How Much Caffeine is in Espresso Beans?

On average, an Arabica coffee bean contains around 1.2% caffeine by mass before roasting. This gets concentrated during roasting into approximately:

  • Arabica beans: 1.2-1.6% caffeine
  • Robusta beans: 1.8-2.4% caffeine

For a 7 gram espresso dose, this equals 84-105mg caffeine using Arabica beans. Robusta hits 126-168mg with its higher caffeine content.

Caffeine Content Factors

Actual caffeine level varies based on:

  • Bean variety – Robusta has 40-80% more than Arabica
  • Origin – No major differences between Arabica-growing regions.
  • Roast level – Darker roasts break down more caffeine
  • Individual plant genetics

But the approximate 1-2% range provides a good estimate of caffeine content in an average espresso.

Volume of Espresso Versus Drip Coffee

Comparing brewing methods:

  • Espresso – 30ml, 7 grams coffee, 60 beans
  • Drip coffee – 360ml, 42 grams coffee, 350 beans

So while espresso uses less total coffee, the concentration is much higher since the water volume is lower. This leads to a thick, syrupy texture and intense flavor.

Caffeine Levels by Volume

Brew Method Volume Caffeine
Espresso 30ml 60-100mg
Drip coffee 360ml 120-180mg

Despite using less total coffee, espresso actually contains more caffeine per volume compared to drip coffee because of the bolder concentration.

Steps for Making Espresso

Brewing espresso is a meticulous process requiring precision and care for best results:

  1. Weigh out whole beans – 7-9 grams per shot
  2. Grind beans – Fine powder texture
  3. Distribute grounds evenly into portafilter basket
  4. Tamp down firmly to compress coffee bed
  5. Lock portafilter tightly into grouphead
  6. Start extraction – Ideal 25-30 seconds
  7. Stop shot at 1.5-2 oz volume
  8. Swirl crema and enjoy!

A proper espresso workflow brings out the full flavor potential from your coffee’s 58-75 magical beans.


An average single espresso shot contains around 7-9 grams of finely ground coffee. Given an estimated 0.12 grams per bean, this equals 58-75 coffee beans used to produce a typical espresso serving.

The exact number can vary based on the coffee blend, grinding method, machine parameters, and personal preferences for strength or flavor. But with the wealth of flavors contained within each little bean, the number used to make espresso is less important than taking time to savor the complex tastes in every sip.

Leave a Comment