When you think of a single shot cup of espresso, you probably think of a double espresso split in half for a smaller beverage size. That’s the version of this awesome drink you’d get in a local café or a Starbucks.
But there is actually a proper single shot of espresso, one of the more unusual and unheard-of types of coffee. It is a mystery amid the changing standards and new technology of the coffee world.
A single shot espresso requires a specific ratio of grounds to water for espresso extraction and the type of basket to pull a cup of coffee correctly. The elements of brewing espresso are laborious, and it doesn’t provide a lot of flavor for a drink larger than 5oz. It is meant to be a specialty, one that isn’t well known in American cafes.
Espresso is a must-try for avid coffee lovers. Below we’ve put together all we know about the Single Shot and its definition.
What Is a Single Shot?
A single shot of espresso is 7g of espresso, ground fine, and extracted with 30ml of hot water.
What modern espresso drinkers get in most standard coffee shops is a double shot espresso that contains 14g of espresso and 60ml of water. However, suppose you want a smaller drink. In that case, the barista will likely only use half of a double shot to keep the flavors balanced and either keep or toss the extra espresso
The exact approach to brewing espresso varies from shop to shop and from one espresso machine to the next. However, the barista’s touch can give an espresso brew a different life and flavor unique to that cafe.
How Is it Made?
Suppose you worked in a cafe with older manual espresso machines. In that case, you might’ve come across the elusive single shot type of filter basket tucked away behind the machine. It has a more triangular shape and is intended to funnel the water directly through the grounds in the pressurized single-shot basket for a more powerful espresso shot.
The intended use of the single-shot basket is to allow a barista to use the same grind on the espresso beans but with a smaller amount of water. A single shot preparation of espresso is a smooth and caffeine-packed boost to your day with the proper calibrations and measurements.
Unfortunately, the odd shape of the basket makes achieving the right balance of coffee difficult without a lot of tender love and care. In addition, the dip down in the basket from the circumference doesn’t fit most standard double shot tamps.
Why Use the Single Shot?
Once you’ve calibrated and measured the suitable ratios of water and coffee, a single shot drink is a great way to control just how much coffee you’re getting.
Sometimes when we order coffee, there is too much or too little coffee for us in our drink. We like to know what we are getting in our cup. When double shots of espresso are split, or if it’s not prepared correctly, or the machine isn’t calibrated, the downgrade in flavor can rob us of the coffee we were craving.
True single espresso shots allow you to enjoy a small beverage with the right balance of flavor and caffeine. For example, many people don’t want a latte that’s too milky or a shot of espresso that’s not balanced and weak.
The control you can achieve by playing around with the different settings and ratios is a matter of personal choice.
Why Is the Single Shot Not Common?
One simple reason: Consistency and Profit.
Many big brand places like Starbucks or Dunkin use automatic espresso machines to achieve uniform flavor across the nation. You know what to expect from these places. The quality of the espresso is lower, and it loses the human touch of being prepared by hand by a barista with knowledge of espresso crafting.
Your local coffee shop might have the capability to produce a single shot espresso cup. Still, the training and work required to ensure that shot is of good quality outweighs the time a barista would have to make sure you get the same quality each time you ordered.
There is no true standard when it comes to double and single shot extraction of espresso. Without a consistent baseline for what is expected (especially in American coffee shops), there is no guarantee your single-shot experience will be the same anywhere.
Worth a Shot?
Regular coffee has so many ways to be prepared and enjoyed. For someone who loves to try out the various styles and preparation methods, a genuine single shot cup of flavorful espresso is an excellent experience.
If you’re a coffee aficionado with the means and desire to enjoy the espresso experience, the possibilities are endless and you can enjoy learning more about this popular drink.