Why is my Espresso watery?

Why is my Espresso watery? There’s nothing quite like a perfect shot of espresso, with its rich, bold flavor and thick, creamy crema. But if you’ve ever found yourself staring at a watery, lackluster espresso, you know just how disappointing it can be.

Not only does a weak espresso shot lack the intense flavor you crave, but it can also ruin your entire drink. So, what causes a watery espresso shot, and how can you avoid it?

In this article, we’ll explore the common culprits of watery espresso and offer some tips for achieving the perfect shot every time. Whether you’re a seasoned barista or just starting out, this guide will help you master the art of making delicious espresso.

Why is my Espresso watery?

Here are the reasons why each of these factors can cause a watery espresso:

Incorrect coffee grind size:

If the coffee grind is too coarse, water will pass through the coffee too quickly, resulting in a weak and watery espresso. On the other hand, if the grind is too fine, water will take longer to pass through the coffee, resulting in a bitter and over-extracted espresso.


Adjust the coffee grind size by making it finer or coarser based on your taste preferences. Finer coffee grounds lead to slower extraction, which results in a stronger espresso, while coarser grounds lead to faster extraction, resulting in a weaker espresso.

Incorrect coffee dosage:

Using too little coffee grounds will result in a weak and watery espresso. Using too much coffee grounds can lead to a bitter and over-extracted espresso.


Measure out the correct amount of coffee grounds for each shot. A standard dose is usually 7 grams per shot. You can adjust this based on your taste preferences.

Using stale or low-quality coffee beans:

Stale or low-quality coffee beans will not have the necessary oils and flavors to produce a rich and flavorful espresso.


Use freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans. Check the roast date and ensure that the beans are not more than two weeks old.

Inconsistent tamping pressure:

Inconsistent tamping pressure can lead to uneven extraction, resulting in a weak and watery espresso.


Use consistent tamping pressure every time you prepare a shot. Use a tamper to apply around 30 pounds of pressure on the coffee grounds.

Inconsistent extraction time:

Inconsistent extraction time can also lead to uneven extraction, resulting in a weak and watery espresso.


Use a timer to ensure that the extraction time is consistent for each shot. A standard extraction time is usually between 20-30 seconds.

Incorrect water temperature:

If the water temperature is too low, the coffee will be under-extracted, resulting in a weak and watery espresso. If the water temperature is too high, the coffee will be over-extracted, resulting in a bitter and unpleasant taste.


Ensure that the water temperature is between 195-205°F. Use a thermometer to measure the water temperature and adjust the machine’s settings accordingly.

Poor quality water:

Using water that is high in minerals and impurities can affect the taste of the espresso and lead to a weak and watery shot.


Use high-quality water that is free from impurities. You can use filtered or bottled water for better results.

Clogged espresso machine:

A clogged espresso machine can lead to uneven extraction, resulting in a weak and watery espresso.


Regularly clean and descale your espresso machine to prevent clogs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance.

Worn-out espresso machine parts:

Worn-out parts like the group head gasket, shower screen, and portafilter basket can affect the machine’s ability to extract coffee properly.


Replace worn-out parts like the group head gasket, shower screen, and portafilter basket to ensure proper functionality.

Poor maintenance and cleaning practices:

Failure to clean and maintain the machine can lead to clogs and buildup of coffee oils and residue, affecting the taste and quality of the espresso.


Follow proper cleaning and maintenance practices to prevent issues with your machine. Regularly clean the group head, steam wand, and portafilter to prevent build-up of coffee oils and residue.


What should you do if your espresso is watery?

If your espresso is watery, it could be due to incorrect coffee grind size or dosage, inconsistent tamping pressure, inconsistent extraction time, or poor maintenance and cleaning practices. Try adjusting your coffee grind to the finer side, ensuring consistent tamping pressure, and cleaning your espresso machine regularly.

Why is my espresso watery?

Your espresso could be watery due to inadequate extraction, insufficient grind size, low brew temperature, insufficient dose, and inadequate tamp size. In addition, poor tamping and grinding too finely can also result in watery inconsistency.

How can I make my espresso thicker?

Grinding your coffee finer and pulling a shorter shot can produce a thicker espresso. Lowering the pressure during extraction can also help produce a thicker body.

Why is my espresso puck so watery?

If your espresso puck is watery, it could be due to a large gap between your coffee grinds and the shower screen (headspace). The more water there is, the wetter and sloppier your coffee grinds will be. To avoid this, ensure that there is an adequate amount of coffee in the portafilter and tamp it down evenly.


Getting a watery espresso shot can be frustrating for any coffee lover. However, with the right adjustments and techniques, it is possible to achieve a thicker, creamier espresso shot that is full of flavor.

From adjusting the grind size to maintaining your espresso machine and ensuring consistent tamping pressure, there are several steps you can take to avoid getting a watery espresso.

You can elevate your espresso game and enjoy a delicious, rich, and satisfying cup of espresso every time by experimenting with different techniques and consistently practicing good coffee-making habits.


Emily Anderson
About the author

Emily Anderson is a coffee aficionado, a certified barista, and the founder of Coffeetipper.com, a comprehensive online resource for coffee enthusiasts. With a deep appreciation for the diverse aspects of coffee, Emily is dedicated to providing readers with a wealth of information about different types of coffee, brewing methods, coffee products, and everything in between.

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