How Many Espresso Beans Are in a Shot?

Measuring coffee beans before grinding them is universally accepted as the right way of ensuring that the correct amount of coffee is used. Since the best way of weighing coffee beans for a shot of espresso is to use a kitchen scale as it produces consistent results, we often talk about coffee in terms of grams.

That being said, coffee beans can be measured in terms of tablespoons at times to make it easier for those who don’t own a kitchen scale. Even though this isn’t the most consistent way of measuring as it’s possible to fill a spoon in different levels, it often produces a result that is acceptable for most.

What about counting coffee beans? Even though not every single coffee bean weighs the same as each other, counting coffee beans can be a good alternative to measuring with a tablespoon. This way, the risk of over or underfilling the spoon is eliminated. That being said, using this method comes with a new set of problems that we will be talking about later on.

If you have ever wondered how many espresso beans are in a shot of espresso, the answer is 61 under the assumption that an average coffee bean weighs around 0.13 grams, and 8 grams of coffee is used for brewing. By doubling this number, we can find out that it’s possible to pull a double espresso with 122 coffee beans.

Of course, even a slight difference in the weight of coffee beans can change this figure drastically, which shows us that using a kitchen scale is paramount for the best espresso experience. 

Why You Shouldn’t Measure Coffee with Tablespoons

Let’s quickly talk about why measuring coffee with tablespoons is usually not recommended.

Logically speaking, how much a tablespoon is filled is dependant on a lot of factors. Even if we assume that all coffee beans are the same size and weight, there is still a good chance that you will scoop completely different amounts of coffee with each different attempt.

On top of this, coffee beans can come in different sizes and weights, which throws the measurement off even more. For instance, dark roast coffee beans are larger compared to light roasted beans despite being lighter in weight.

What this means is that even if you managed to take two identical scoops from a package of dark roast coffee beans and a package of light roast coffee beans, you would end up with completely different weights, and your measurement would be false.

With so many variables at play, it’s nearly impossible to consistently measure coffee beans in a manner where the coffee to water ratio would be optimal, which can cause your coffee to be over-extracted or under-extracted and taste unsatisfactory.

As mismeasuring coffee is one of the primary reasons for coffee turning out less pleasant than expected, we once again would like to remind you that using a kitchen scale is the best way of solving this problem.

Why You Shouldn’t Measure Coffee by Counting

So, does counting the coffee beans instead solve the problems that are caused by measuring with a tablespoon, or not? Let’s find out.

When beans are counted, the problem related to measuring with a tablespoon where scoop sizes are inconsistent is automatically solved. On top of this, beans that are different in size also don’t cause as big of a problem.

Unfortunately, there is one problem with measuring by counting. We have to make an assumption about the weight of a singular coffee bean to complete the measurement. Since the weight of a coffee bean falls between the 0.12g – 0.14g range on average, it’s a good starting point to choose a weight that is in this range.

Assuming that we are using 7 grams of coffee for our espresso shot, the result would be somewhere between 50 and 58 coffee beans, depending on the assumed weight. With some easy math, we find out that the worst-case scenarios would be using 6 grams (50 * 0.12) or 8 grams (58 * 0.14) of coffee where both numbers fall into the ideal range of coffee that should be used for a shot of espresso.

While there is still a lack of consistency, it turns out that counting coffee beans can actually turn out to be a viable way of measuring coffee in the absence of a kitchen scale.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How much caffeine is in an espresso shot?

A singular shot of espresso is considered to have around 40 mg of caffeine. In the case of a double shot, this figure is also doubled to 80 mg.

How long should a single shot of espresso take?

A single shot of espresso takes roughly 30 seconds to be brewed, and a double shot of espresso takes roughly 60 seconds.

How many ounces of espresso beans are there in a shot?

Since we already know that an espresso shot consists of 6 to 8 grams of coffee beans, we can quickly convert this figure to ounces.

The conversion would give us the range of 0.21 ounces to 0.28 ounces of espresso beans per shot.


While it may seem like an odd idea at first, counting coffee beans can actually be a decent way of measuring the amount of coffee you will need to brew a shot of espresso, and perhaps even a better way than measuring with a tablespoon.

Even though we highly recommend having a kitchen scale, especially if you are a regular coffee drinker, this method can prove to be handy when push comes to shove.

Have a great day, and enjoy your coffee!