Online Barista Training: What is Espresso?

what is espresso, barista training course, online barista training

what is espresso, barista training course, online barista training

So you are done with writing your barista resume using our barista training resume tips. Congratulations! Now as you start your job as a barista make sure you know the basic concepts of coffee preparation.


What is Espresso?

Despite a common knowledge that espresso is a drink, it is actually a brewing method. Although it can be served and drunk right after extraction. What distinguishes espresso from any other brewing methods is that can only be prepared with the help of an espresso machine.

Espresso is a small 25-30 ml (0.84 – 1 oz) beverage. To prepare an espresso you will use around 20 g (0.7 oz) of ground coffee.

Next… after you lock in the portafilter into an espresso machine’s grouphead the hot water (195°- 205°F) will be running for 25-30 sec at 9-10 atm.


Espresso drink is very intense in terms of flavors and color. It happens because the water is pulled under extreme pressure and it has high concentration of coffee to water.

It is important to remember this when choosing espresso blends. Different coffee notes can translate differently in an espresso shot.


As you pull your shot you will notice that the first espresso drops start at 5-7 sec then turning into a dark chocolate stream. By the end, the stream gets fairer. You can enjoy nice crema on top of a well-extracted espresso shot.


Ristretto vs. Lungo

As a part of your online barista training you should learn that there’s a wide range of preferences to the espresso extraction. You can extract a “restricted” or “long” shot, namely ristretto or lungo.

For a ristretto you should adjust the grind to be a little bit finer. This will allow to slow the water. This way, with the usual amount of coffee (around 0.7 oz) and extraction time you will get less liquid – around 0.84 oz. Ristretto runs slower in thinner streams. It reveals more beading and darker color. The result is more concentrated, sometimes even sourer flavor.

For a lungo adjust your grind to more coarse. Grind the usual amount of coffee. Remember that there will be less coffee in you portafilter because of coarser grind. In 25-30 seconds, it’ll give approximately, 1.4 oz of liquid output. Lungo runs quicker soon becoming lighter in colors with less beading. Lungo is a great way to taste coffee – it reveals a broader range of flavors with less sourness.

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How to serve Espresso?

Espresso should be served in a small cup known as demitasse on a saucer with a small spoon. Usually it is accompanied by a small glass of sparkling or still water. Make sure you ask your customer what kind of water he or she wants.

Keep in mind that if a customer wants more than a double espresso in a drink, you should charge more for an extra shot.


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Why it is important to dial in your espresso?

Knowing how to be a barista also means knowing how to dial in your daily espresso shots. Dialing in your coffee is an extremely important process, which will determine the quality of your service. It’s crucial to set you coffee variable early in the morning before the first customer arrives.

You must also dial in your shots several times throughout the day because the conditions in your coffee shop change too: your grinder heats up, espresso machine cools down, ambient temperature changes due to air conditioning and humidity. All these factors determine that your espresso shots pull differently every single time.

Dialing in technique as a barista

Barista Training Continued: When you come to your workstation in the morning make sure to set your tools and calibrate your shots for the best taste. Grind some coffee out if the grinder was vacuumed out the night before. Before dosing your coffee scale your portafilter and set its value to 0. After distribution but before tamping weigh your portafilter again. One dose should be 18-20 grams (0.63-0.7 oz). Don’t taste a first couple of shots, they will have metallic taste anyways. Pull your first shots to warm up your espresso machine and groupheads.

Look closely at your third shot: when the first drips start coming out, when drips turn into streams, how long it takes to extract a shot and what is the weight of the output. The color is also an important indicator to notice.

Making adjustments to your espresso shot

If you are not satisfied with how your espresso runs (too fast or too slow) or with the color and taste of your shot, you need to make certain adjustments and recalibrate your variables. It makes an important part of your barista training and successful barista career.

Grind adjustments are supposed to control how fast your espresso extracts. If your espresso pulls too slow, set particle size to coarser. Always change one notch at a time and purge the grinder after that.

If your shot is low in body and thin, you might also want to decrease the water flow and make higher coffee to water ratio.

Always change one variable at a time.