More Coffee Beans Go Into A Shot Of Espresso Than You Might Think

Espresso is so much more than the caffeine in your Pumpkin Spice Latte. A well brewed cup of espresso can have bold, bright flavors that are hard to come by in your standard drip coffee and makes it something so much more than the base of specialty drinks (via Craft Coffee Spot). And one of the surprising elements of espresso coffee is that it is able to achieve these flavors without using a lot of coffee.

How Stuff Works explains that espresso is a style of coffee that is prepared by forcing roughly 1.5 ounces of hot water through a densely packed filter of coffee with extreme pressure. Craft Coffee Spot says that it takes about 130 pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure to get the water to pull through the coffee while extracting all of those delicious flavors. 

One of the key differences between espresso and drip coffee is the bean's grind. Coffee for espresso machines is ground extremely fine which lets it condense into a kind of puck that slows the extraction time. It's even possible to grind the coffee too fine to a point that it will slow the extraction to a trickle and produce an inferior cup of coffee.

Espresso only uses about 50 beans per cup

Thanks to the fine grind of the coffee, espresso machines are able to draw bold flavors out of the ground beans without having to use a large amount of them. According to Spill the Beans, most espresso shots are measured by weight for the most consistent accuracy. A single shot of coffee usually takes 7 grams of coffee, while a double would be 14. Spill the Beans measures this out at approximately 42 beans of coffee, though Coffee DRs' measurements come closer to 56. This is likely caused by slight variations in weight between beans, but it's safe to assume that roughly 50 beans are all it takes to brew a perfect cup of espresso.

Full Coffee Roast says that there is a lot of variation in other types of brewed coffee as well. It says that a 12-ounce cup can contain anywhere between 90 and 150 coffee beans depending on how it's brewed, ground, and the type of coffee used.