Making the perfect cup of espresso is genuinely an art form, so when you are brewing your own batches, you want them to be as delicious as possible. One of the easiest ways a good-quality espresso can be ruined is by finding coffee grounds in it, but why does that happen? Is it normal to have coffee grounds in your espresso?
It is not normal to have coffee grounds in your espresso. If you are finding coffee grounds in your espresso consistently, they are likely falling into the final brewed product from one of two sources, the basket or the portafilter.
This article will explore the possible reasons why coffee grounds are ending up in your espresso and how it can be prevented from happening in the future. Continue reading if you are struggling with keeping coffee sediment out of your espresso shots!
Why Do I Have Coffee Grounds in My Espresso?
There are a few potential reasons why the espresso you make ends up with coffee grounds in it. A high-quality cup of espresso should not have any sediment settled at the bottom of it, so if it is happening to you over and over, consider these possibilities.
The Basket Is Too Full
When making espresso, it is crucial to weigh out the correct amount of coffee grounds to use. If you are only eyeballing the grounds you are adding to the basket rather than measuring it out, it is possible that you could be putting in too much coffee.
If the basket is packed to the brim even after being tamped down, the water will have a hard time flowing through the grounds and may begin to puddle at the top. When this happens, the sediment is much more likely to overflow and end up in your final product.
Taking the time to weigh out just the right amount of coffee grounds needed will keep them from spilling out into your finished brew.
The Grounds Are Seeping Through the Basket’s Holes
When you are finding coffee grounds in your espresso shots, the first thing you should look at is the basket. A good basket should have small enough holes that the sediment cannot slip through them into the brew.
Because espresso grounds need to be extremely fine, a basket with holes that are even slightly too large will allow the ground beans to fall into the portafilter and end up in your shot.
If your basket has holes large enough where you can see through them to the other side, you should change it out for a basket with tiny holes that will not let any sediment through.
The Basket Is Cracked or Broken
Another possible reason you may be finding coffee grounds in your espresso is that the basket they are being tamped into has a crack or break. When the finely ground coffee needed for an espresso is placed in the basket, it can easily slip out of a small opening and into your drink.
Therefore, it is essential to consider where the opening is on the basket. If it only has a tiny crack near the rim, it will not cause as significant an issue as if the damage is in the bottom.
When making espresso, you actively pack all of the grounds into the basket and force them down toward the base. If there is a break in between the holes or on the bottom edge, a large amount of sediment can fall through and ruin your otherwise perfect espresso.
The easiest way to resolve this issue is to purchase a new basket. When doing so, be sure to check that the holes are also small enough so that does not become a potential factor either!
The Portafilter Has Excess Grounds on It
If your basket is not broken and has the correct size holes, the reason you are experiencing coffee grounds in your espresso is probably to do with your portafilter.
There are a couple of ways that extra grounds can fall into your final brew from your portafilter.
Leftover Grounds on the Rim
When packing the coffee grounds into the basket, you may end up with sediment stuck to the rim of the portafilter. If you do not clean this off before the brewing process begins, the shaking of the machine as it makes the shot will cause the grounds to fall into your cup.
Leftover Grounds Stuck to the Bottom
If any loose coffee grounds are spilled while filling and leveling the basket, they will fall onto the surface where the portafilter is sitting. If not wiped off the surface where you are packing the portafilter, they will adhere to the bottom and can drop into the espresso during the brewing process.
The simplest solution to both of these issues is to check that the portafilter is free of any sediment stuck to the rim, sides, or bottom before inserting it into the machine. Wiping it clean of any grounds will ensure that they do not make their way into the shot.
Other Reasons You Are Finding Coffee Grounds in Your Espresso
In addition to problems with the basket and portafilter, there are a few other possible issues that may be occurring that are causing coffee grounds to end up in your finished cup of espresso.
The Brew Is Being Dispensed Directly From the Machine
If you are experiencing coffee grounds in your espresso, it could be the style of machine that you own. If you have a basic, entry-level espresso machine, it may be one that is automatic, where all you have to do is push a button, and it does the rest of the work for you.
In this scenario, the espresso is dispensed directly from the machine rather than through the correct process, where the excess grounds are removed. Because it is being poured straight into the cup instead of going through the additional steps, the finer grounds are being dispensed into the cup along with the drink.
To prevent this from happening, consider purchasing an espresso machine that allows for a more hands-on approach to the process. Although it is more work for you, you are less likely to end up with coffee grounds in your shot.
Your Espresso Machine Needs a Good Cleaning
If you have checked all of the possibilities on this list and are still finding coffee grounds in your espresso, it could be that the machine itself needs a deep cleaning.
It is essential to clean your espresso machine after every shot you pull because sediment may get stuck inside and could end up in your next brew.
Even if you wipe the portafilter before inserting it into the machine, give it a good rinse inside and out after every use. Removing the excess grounds will help prevent a build-up of old sediment, which can affect future cups.
After you have made your shot, run water through the machine into a cup to flush out any grounds that may be stuck inside. Again, doing this will keep coffee from building up, which will not only leave you with grounds in your shots but will also affect the taste.
There are several possible things that could affect the amount of coffee grounds that end up in your shots, but ultimately it is not normal to have coffee grounds in your espresso. Double-checking your basket, portafilter, and machine to ensure they are clean and operating properly will help to prevent coffee grounds from ruining an otherwise fantastic shot of espresso.