How to Brew a Triple Shot Espresso

If you’re as obsessed with espresso as I am, you’ve probably wondered how easy it is to make your own espresso at home. Even if you know how to make a single espresso shot already, it’s always fun to learn new things, and a triple shot espresso might be just what you need to perk up on a Monday morning.

Keep in mind that if you want to try out this espresso-brewing method at home, you will need an espresso machine with a portafilter. Otherwise, this method will not work properly.

Understanding Espresso

Before we dive into the ins and outs of brewing, it’s important to understand the basics behind the espresso bar. Espresso is coffee that has been brewed using hot water and intense pressure, which extracts a significantly higher amount of caffeine than there is in a standard drip coffee.

Espresso has been beloved by coffee connoisseurs across the world for ages since its invention at the World’s Fair in 1906. Once people discovered its bold, delicious flavor and its extra caffeine content, it became a hit.

Most espresso beverages are characterized by their ingredients and the volume of each one. For example, an americano is an espresso shot cut with an equal portion of hot water to dilute the taste. Other espresso drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, include ingredients such as milk and foam to help add a richer, creamier flavor suitable to sweeter palates.

Preparing Espresso

Espresso can be prepared in many different ways, from moka pots to French presses and beyond. However, the only way to correctly prepare a triple shot espresso involves the use of an espresso machine with a portafilter. A portafilter is a piece of equipment where ground espresso is placed to be extracted by the machine.

There are three keywords you’ll often hear in regards to the preparation of espresso: dose, yield, and time. These are the three most important factors which contribute to the taste, strength, and overall quality of your brew.


The term “dose” refers to the exact amount of ground coffee, in grams, that you put into the portafilter for extraction. This is critical, because only so much espresso can fit within each size basket, and this changes the type of espresso you make. 

Most standard espresso machines only come with a single serving portafilter. This size won’t be sufficient to brew a triple shot – for that, you’ll need a larger basket, because the dose is going to be bigger.

The dose you use will change depending on how much espresso you want to end up with, and the basket size you need will change depending on how much espresso you can fit in it. For reference, here are the three standard basket sizes for portafilters and how much espresso they each can hold.

Single Basket (Default): 7-10g

Double Basket: 16-18g

Triple Basket: 20-22g


The “yield” in an espresso recipe refers to the exact weight, in grams, of the finished, extracted shot(s) of espresso you brew. An espresso brew’s yield is often expressed as a ratio of grams of ground espresso to grams of pulled espresso. 

Ideally, your espresso should be about a 1:2 ratio – meaning that for every 1 gram of grounds you use, you should produce 2 grams of liquid espresso. You can use a scale to get an even more precise measurement of a brew’s yield, but most amateur brewers tend to skip that step.


The most overlooked factor of espresso brewing is the time it takes to brew. This is the trickiest factor to control in the overall process, but it is possible to do so. Most espresso shots, brewed correctly, will take about 30 seconds to pull.

The reason why the time matters so much is because it reflects the quality of your grind. If you grind your own coffee for espresso, time your brewing process to see if the grind is fine or coarse enough. Ideally, it should strike a balance. The texture of your grind can change how well the caffeine and flavor is extracted.

A good rule of thumb is that if the espresso takes over 30 seconds, your grounds are too fine, and if it takes under 25 seconds, they are too coarse. Use a kitchen timer to keep track of it to ensure you’re getting the most out of your espresso.

How to Make a Triple Shot Espresso

If you want to make a triple shot espresso from home, it’s easier than you think. All you’ll need is an espresso machine, the triple size portafilter basket (you may have to purchase your own), and of course, the espresso. You can purchase espresso grounds at a supermarket, or you can grind your own.

The trick to making a triple shot espresso is that it is not the same as just brewing three espresso shots. Many people mistakenly think that just brewing three solos (single shots) equates to a triple, but that isn’t true. 

In order for it to be considered a triple shot, it needs to be triple the espresso of a single, brewed in the same amount of time as a single shot, and it must be brewed altogether. It’s this extraction style that makes it a triple.

Here’s how to brew a triple shot espresso at home:

  1. First, fill your triple-size portafilter basket with the correct amount of espresso. This should be between 20-22g of grounds. You can use a scale to make sure this measurement is precise.
  2. Next, you need to tamp the basket. “Tamping” refers to the process of packing the espresso in such a way that makes the extraction go over more smoothly. You can use a tamper if you have one, or you can use a spoon. To tamp the coffee, just use your tool of choice to ensure the grounds are evenly distributed and flat. You can also gently tap the sides of the basket.
  3. Pull the shot. You’ll pull this shot just the same way you would brew a single.
  4. Finally, enjoy your fresh espresso!

Triple the Flavor

Not only is espresso a great way to start your day, but it’s also absolutely delicious. While a single shot can give you a slight energy boost, those of us with stronger caffeine cravings may need something that packs more of a punch, like the triple shot. Try brewing one for yourself to see if it’s for you.