If your espresso tastes watery then you are probably wondering why and what you can do to get it to taste less watery.
This post will show you why your espresso tastes watery and what you can do to get it to taste less watery.
So, why does my espresso taste watery? Watery espresso is usually caused by stale beans. Ideally, the beans that you use should have been roasted within the last 2-3 weeks. It could also be caused by not using a fine enough grind, using a light roast, running the extraction process too quickly or pulling at the wrong temperature.
And, what can I do to get my espresso to taste less watery? Start by using fresher beans if you are not already and try using a finer grind. If that doesn’t work try using a darker roast, increasing the dose (or lowering it if it’s high), make sure you’re pulling at the right temperature (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit), make sure to distribute the grind before tamping and check the pressure on your machine is correct.
There are actually a number of things that could cause your espresso to be watery. There are also some changes that you can make that will likely yield better improvements than others.
Why your espresso tastes watery
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your espresso might taste watery, why they would cause it to be watery and what you can do to fix it,
Watery espresso will often be caused by under-extracting. This is where the extracting process is run too quickly resulting in the water picking up less of the oil from the coffee as it passes through it.
There are a number of reasons that you might be under-extracting.
The main one would likely be that you are not using a fine enough grind. If the grind is not fine then it will mean that the water will be able to pass through it more easily since the grind will have larger gaps in it.
It could also be that you are using lightly roasted beans that are less oily which allow for the water to pass through them more easily.
Using a lower temperature could also result in under extraction since colder water will be less active and pass through the coffee more easily without picking up as much of the oils from the coffee.
Under-extraction could also result from using the wrong dose or from tamping incorrectly. The video below shows a good overview on how to dose and tamp correctly.
Use fresh beans
The freshness of the beans can actually have a large impact on how the espresso tastes. If the beans are not fresh then it can cause the espresso to taste more bland and watery. As the coffee beans age after being roasted they will begin to oxidize and to lower in how oily they are which will result in the espresso tasting more watery if you use old beans.
Generally, coffee beans should be used within 2-3 weeks of being roasted. To extend how long they last for, store them in a cool and dry area. Additionally, it is important to use them as quickly as possible once you grind them. Ground beans will begin to diminish in flavor as quickly as 15 minutes after being
Below is a video showing you how quickly to use your coffee beans once you get them.
The type of roast of the beans
The reason that your espresso tastes watery could be due to the type of roast of the beans that you are using.
In recent years, lighter roasted beans have become more popular as baristers have been looking to deliver a more authentic taste. The problem with this is that lighter roasts can cause the espresso to taste more sour because they are more acidic and it can cause them to have less oil on them.
Having less oil can cause the espresso to be more watery as it will mean that the water will not be able to pick up as much oil from the grind as it passes through it. To rectify this try using a darker type of roast to make your espresso if you haven’t been already.
Change the temperature
The temperature that you are pulling the espresso at could also cause the espresso to taste more watery.
If you pull the espresso at a lower temperature then it could result in the espresso tasting more watery as it will mean that less of the coffee will be dissolved into the water as it passes through the coffee. Generally, it is recommended that you pull the espresso at around 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Below, is a video that discusses how to figure out what temperature to use and how it can impact the taste of your espresso.
Change the grind
As mentioned earlier using a grind that is too coarse will mean that it will be easier for the water to pass through it which will result in the espresso tasting more watery.
To remedy this try to use a grind that is
It could be a pressure problem
It could be the case that there is a pressure problem with your espresso machine. To check this pull a blank shot and see if the pressure stops at the set pressure. The pressure of an espresso machine will normally be around 9 BARs.
Distribute the grounds before tamping
The way that you tamp the grind could result in the espresso tasting more watery. If the grind is uneven before tamping it could result in the water being able to pass through the grind more easily which will cause it to pick up less of the oil from the coffee.
To remedy this make sure to distribute the grounds evenly before tamping.
If you’re unsure on whether or not you are tamping correctly then take a look at the video below to see how to tamp correctly.
There are many things that you can do to reduce how watery your espresso is and there are many things that can make it become watery. Additionally, people have different tastes.
This means that in order for you to find the best espresso for you it will likely be necessary for you to experiment with the things mentioned above until you come to an espresso-style that you like the best.
Other things that can impact how your espresso tastes
In addition to the things mentioned above, there are some other things that can impact the way that your espresso tastes but they generally won’t cause it to be more or less watery.
Where the beans are sourced from
The location that your beans are sourced from can have a big impact on the taste of the espresso.
With that being the case, if you have only tried espresso with coffee beans from one particular location it would be worthwhile to try coffee beans that were sourced from somewhere else. You’ll likely find that it will result in a different taste and it could be one that you like.
If the beans are single sourced or a blend
Whether or not the beans are from a single source or if they are a blend of beans from multiple different sources can also have a big impact on the way that the espresso tastes.
Beans sourced from a single location will tend to have a much more distinct taste while coffee blends will have a more balanced taste.
If you don’t like your espresso tasting sour then it would likely be a better option for you to opt for a coffee blend. Whereas, if you are looking for an espresso with a much more noticeable taste then try a single-sourced espresso.
However, as mentioned above people have different tastes so it might be worthwhile for you to try both. If you are new to espresso then I would recommend that you start with a coffee blend that has a dark roast and to experiment from there.
Why does my espresso taste weak?
It would likely be a result of under-extracting. This is where the water doesn’t pick up much of the oil as it passes through it.
To make your espresso taste less weak use a finer grind, use fresher coffee beans, use a darker roast, make sure that you are pulling at the correct temperature, make sure that you are tamping evenly and with the right amount of pressure and change the dose of the grind that you are using.