How many bars of pressure for Espresso (9 vs 15!)

Are you a coffee lover who wants to learn about the perfect bar pressure for your espresso?

You might have heard that pressure is key to creating the ideal espresso shot. But with so many different opinions and recommendations, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. 

Most Espresso machines typically work at around 9 – 10 bars of Pressure and it’s actually the sweet spot pressure for brewing a perfect shot of Espresso in 25-30 seconds. Some brands advertise 15 bars of pressure and some even 20 bars. Don’t be fooled by this; know that 9-10 bars are enough.

Before reading the blog, understand that the pressure bars work according to your mood. 

  • Need a stronger one, go for the high-pressure. 
  • Want to stay in the sweet spot, go for moderate pressure.

So, let us get started with the different pressure levels for the perfect espresso shot. 

Why is pressure significant?

Pressure is an essential component in creating a great shot of espresso. You need the right amount of pressure to extract the rich flavors, oils, and aromas from the coffee grounds.

“Crema” a result of the pressurized brewing process is visually appealing and adds a creamy, silky texture to the espresso, enhancing its flavor profile. 

Maintaining the right amount of pressure is crucial to ensure that the espresso is balanced, flavorful, and has a smooth texture.

The pressure also affects the speed of the extraction. A slow and steady extraction is preferable as it allows for complete extraction of the coffee’s flavor compounds. It is why most espresso machines maintain a regular bar of pressure throughout the entire extraction process.

How many bars of pressure for Espresso

How does pressure affect the taste and quality of Espresso?

  1. Extraction: High pressure allows water to extract more flavor compounds and oils from the coffee grinds, resulting in a richer and more complex flavor profile. 
  1. Crema: Pressure helps to create the signature Crema on top of the espresso, contributing to the drink’s overall taste and appearance. 
  1. Under-Extraction: If the pressure is too low, the water may not extract enough flavor from the coffee grinds. It’ll lead to a weak or watery espresso
  1. Over-Extraction: If the pressure is too high, it can cause over-extraction, leading to a bitter or burnt shot of espresso
  1. Balance: The proper pressure for making espresso depends on various factors, including the coffee type, grind size, and the machine used. It requires a balance of pressure and other variables to produce high-quality, delicious espresso.

9 bar VS 15 bar Espresso

The industry standard for pressure in espresso machines is 9 bars. 9 bars of pressure is considered the sweet spot for extracting espresso, as it allows for a balanced and full-bodied flavor without over-extraction or bitterness.

The reason for this lies in the science of coffee extraction. Water is forced through the ground coffee beans during the brewing process. The pressure of this water affects how much of the coffee’s flavors and aromas are extracted. 

At 9 bars of pressure, the water extracts the best of both worlds – the bold flavors and aromas and the subtle nuances of the coffee.

This creates a well-balanced and flavorful cup of espresso that is not too bitter or weak.

While some machines may offer higher pressure options, 9 bars remain the industry standard- consistently producing a high-quality espresso shot.

Having too much pressure may result in an extra frothy and foamy espresso, which is also undesirable, so it is important to stay within the sweet spot.

According to an experimental study by seven miles coffee roasters

For the home or pro barista, our suggestion is this: if your roaster recommends a specific brewing pressure for their coffee, then go for it – otherwise your best bet is probably 9 bars.

seven miles
Features9 Bar Espresso15 Bar Espresso
CremaA perfect Crema layerThicker and more velvety crema
Machine Wear and TearLess wear and tear on the machineMore wear and tear on the machine
CostLess expensive machinesMore expensive machines
Extraction TimeLonger extraction timeShorter extraction time
FlavorMore balanced flavora bolder flavor
Pressure ConsistencyIt can be more consistent and easier to achieveHigher pressure can require more precision to maintain consistency
Bean freshnessMaybe more forgiving of older beansHigher pressure can bring out undesirable flavors in older beans
Espresso Shot SizeShots may be larger in volume and lighter in colorShots may be smaller in volume and darker in color

Read a detailed guide on different types of Espresso machines

Can you control the pressure in Espresso machines?

Most home espresso machines don’t have pressure settings because they are designed to work within a specific pressure range suitable for producing high-quality espresso.

The machines have a pre-set ideal pressure of 9 bars, the standard pressure required for making espresso.

Modern espresso machines can handle the pressure at which the espresso is brewed. Different machines have different methods of adjusting pressure. Here are some ways you can do it:

  1. Rotary Pump settings: Most modern espresso machines have a rotary pump to generate pressure. You can adjust the pressure at which the pump operates by locating and adjusting the pump screw or following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Manual lever: Lever espresso machines allow the barista to control the pressure during extraction by pulling down a lever. This method requires more skill and experience than a pump-driven machine but can produce excellent results. 
  3. Pressure profiling system: Some high-end espresso machines have a pressure profiling system that allows the barista to control the pressure throughout the entire extraction process. It can produce a broader range of flavors and aromas in the espresso shot.


8 to 10 bars of pressure are often the sweet spot for creating a fantastic espresso. The amount of coffee used, temperature, and other variables can also impact the espresso’s quality.

It can take some trial and error to get the ideal balance between all these elements, but the end product is a rich, flavorful cup of espresso guaranteed to please. Thus you must experiment with several methods to see which suits you the most. Cheers to that!


Is 19 Bar Pressure Good For Espresso?

A pressure of 19 bars is higher than what is typically required for extracting espresso. The recommended pressure for espresso is between 8 and 10 bars.
Ultimately, the quality of espresso depends on a combination of factors including the coffee beans, equipment, and barista skill. While a pressure of 19 bars may be impressive, it is not necessarily a guarantee of high-quality espresso.

How Much Pressure Does Moka Pot Make?

The pressure used in a Moka pot is typically 1 to 2 bars, significantly less than in conventional espresso machines. Due to the slower extraction rate made possible by the lower pressure, the flavor profile of the coffee is distinct from espresso.

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.