Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Science behind Coffee’s 10-Second Sweet Spot

by Mads

How to Get the Best Espresso Shot: The Science behind Coffee’s 10-Second Sweet Spot

As a coffee aficionado, you may have heard of the 10-second rule for espresso shots. But why is it important and how can you ensure your shot hits that sweet spot?

What is the 10-second rule for espresso?

The 10-second rule refers to the time it takes for an espresso shot to extract properly from the coffee puck. In those 10 seconds, the water should run through the grounds evenly and at the right pressure and temperature to produce a well-balanced shot.

Why is the 10-second rule important?

The 10-second rule is important because it determines the quality of the espresso shot. A shot that extracts too quickly will be weak and watery, while a shot that extracts too slowly will be bitter and over-extracted.

By hitting the 10-second sweet spot, you can ensure that your shot is flavorful, balanced, and has a crema layer on top – a sign of a well-extracted shot.

What factors affect the 10-second rule?

Several factors can affect the 10-second rule, including the fineness of the grind, the type of machine used, the amount of coffee used, and the tamper pressure.

The finer the grind, the slower the water will flow through the grounds and the longer the extraction time will be. Similarly, if too much coffee is packed into the portafilter or the tamper pressure is too high, the water will have a harder time flowing through the puck, extending the extraction time.

The type of machine also plays a role in the extraction time. A machine with a higher pressure will extract faster, while a machine with a lower pressure will extract more slowly.

How can you hit the 10-second sweet spot?

To hit the 10-second sweet spot, you need to pay attention to several factors in the espresso-making process:

Firstly, ensure that the coffee grounds are freshly roasted and ground just before brewing. This will ensure the best flavor and aroma.

Secondly, ensure that the coffee is tamped correctly – not too hard or too lightly – to create a uniform puck.

Thirdly, pay attention to the grind setting and adjust it as necessary to achieve the desired extraction time. Aim to pour your shot within 25 to 30 seconds, with the first drops of espresso appearing after 5 to 7 seconds.

Fourthly, ensure that the water temperature is correct. The ideal water temperature for extracting espresso is around 200°F (93°C).

By following these steps, you can hit the 10-second sweet spot and create a delicious, well-balanced espresso shot.


Hitting the 10-second sweet spot in espresso making is both an art and a science. By paying attention to the grind, tamp pressure, machine settings, and water temperature, you can achieve the perfect extraction time and create a flavorful, balanced shot every time. So, grab your portafilter and start experimenting to find your perfect espresso shot!

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