Single Vs Double Espresso Shots

You can either order a single shot or a double shot of espresso. These two concepts can be challenging for individuals unfamiliar with the coffee or used to getting their caffeine fix via drip coffee.

So, What’s the difference between single vs double Espresso shots?

A single espresso is typically about 1-1.25 ounces of liquid extracted from 7-8 grams of finely ground coffee, whereas double espresso is about 2-2.25 ounces of liquid extracted from 14-16 grams of finely ground coffee.

Each option has distinctive qualities that suit various tastes, from the amount of caffeine to the taste and texture. We will explore the brewing method, caffeine level, flavor, and other aspects of single and double espresso shots in this post to assist you in selecting the perfect shot for your buds.

What is a Single Espresso Shot?

The single espresso shot is a coffee beverage made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans in an espresso machine.

It is usually made using 7-9 grams of coffee grounds pressed into a compact “puck” in the portafilter and brewed with 1-1.25 fluid ounces of water. 

Single Espresso

It produces a concentrated and robust shot of coffee, topped with a rich and creamy layer of crema and enjoyed by coffee enthusiasts worldwide for its bold and intense flavor.

What is double Espresso shot “The Doppio”

The name “doppio” is derived from the Italian word for “double,” referring to the fact that it contains twice as much espresso as a single shot. So you can say double espresso is two single espressos.

The doppio or double espresso is typically made with around 14-16 grams of finely ground coffee and yields about 2-2.5 ounces of liquid Espresso.

doppio espresso

It is popular among espresso drinkers who like a more powerful and concentrated coffee flavor and a larger caffeine fix.

A double espresso shot is a foundation for numerous espresso-based drinks, including cappuccinos, lattes, and americanos.

Differences in Single and Double Espresso shot

Here are some key differences between single vs double espresso shots.

Single vs Double Espresso

The serving size and the brewing time

A single shot of espresso is prepared with 7-9 grams of coffee grounds and creates about 1-1.25 ounces of espresso. On the other hand, a double shot of espresso is prepared with 14-16 grams of coffee grounds and delivers 2-2.25 ounces of espresso.

In terms of brewing time, 25-30 seconds is ideal for both Single and Double Espresso shots, but can vary slightly depending on the roast and type of coffee.

The Brewing Ratios

Typically, the brew ratio used for Espresso is around 1:2 to 1:2.5

A single shot Espresso is typically 30 mL and a double shot is 60 mL.

But wait! That doesn’t amount doesn’t equate to a brew ratio of 1:2.

That’s because of the frothy layer at the top of Espresso shots known as Crema.

Without the Crema layer, the volume of a single shot is between 15-20 mL and that of a double shot is between 30-35 mL.

That’s why in the modern specialty coffee industry we use the mass of the shot (in grams) instead of volume (in mL).

Precisely speaking, the weight of a double shot is around 30-35 grams and the weight of a single shot is 15-20 grams.

The caffeine content

The caffeine content mainly depends upon the type of coffee beans used. A double shot has twice as much coffee grounds and water as a single shot, so the caffeine concentration is higher.

Generally, A single espresso shot typically includes 60-72 milligrams of caffeine, whereas a double espresso shot contains 120-133 milligrams.

The taste 

As the brewing method is the same, and the shot is pulled for the same amount of time, there are no major differences in the taste of single and double espresso.

However, generally speaking, a single shot of espresso has a milder taste and a lighter body compared to a doppio. A double espresso shot, on the other hand, tends to have a stronger and more robust taste with a fuller body.

The Versatility and Cost

Espresso is a popular base for a variety of coffee drinks. In fact, there are almost 30 different types of espresso drinks enjoyed around the World.

Single shots of espresso are smaller than double shots and have a lower concentration of caffeine, which makes them ideal for enjoying as is.  

A double shot, however, can be enjoyed as it is, but most people may find it disturbing due to the high caffeine concentration.

That’s why doppio shots are most commonly used as the base for other drinks such as Americano, Latte, Cappuccino, and Macchiato to name a few.

The cost of Espresso shots varies from country to country. In the USA, most coffee shops charge around $2-3 for a single shot espresso, and the double shot usually costs $1 more that that.

Single vs Double Espresso Portafilter Baskets

The portafilter baskets used for preparing single and double Espresso aren’t the same.

Single baskets hold around 7-9 grams of coffee, while double baskets hold 14-18 grams. Double baskets are wider and deeper to accommodate more coffee grounds.

Single vs Double Espresso portafilter baskets

If you attempt to prepare a single Espresso shot with 7-9 grams using a double Espresso basket, it will not build a sufficient pressure, the water will pass too quickly and you will end up with a watery shot.

Single spout portafilters have one central spout, while double spout portafilters either have two spouts for splitting a double shot or have a naked bottom.

In many busy cafes, even when pulling single shots, Baristas will often use a double spout portafilters rather than a single portafilters. This allows Baristas to serve customers faster by pulling two shots at a time.

spouted espresso portafilter

FINAL THOUGHTS Single Vs Double Espresso

As such, we can simply say that there is no difference between a single vs double espresso, just the size of the drink.

The final decision regarding whether to take a single or double espresso shot depends on personal preference and the intended use.

For those who prefer to have straight espresso shots, a single shot may be preferable. 

For those who need a larger dose of caffeine and plan to use it for other espresso drinks, a double shot may be the better option.


Is A Cappuccino A Single Or Double Shot?

A cappuccino is generally made with two shots of espresso. However, the amount of espresso can vary according to the barista’s or the customer’s tastes. Some people like a single shot for a bit of cappuccino, while others may even want a triple shot for a large one.

Is A Double Espresso Stronger Than A Single?

Yes, a double espresso is generally stronger than a single espresso. As it is made with twice as much coffee grounds, a double espresso has twice the caffeine, making it stronger.

Do Italians drink single or double espresso?

In Italy, it is common to drink single espresso. Double espresso, known as “doppio,” is also available, but it is not as commonly ordered as a single espresso.

What is 3 shots of espresso called?

Three shots of espresso are referred to as a “triple shot” or as a “tre” (Italian for three).
In a triple shot of espresso, 21-24 grams of finely ground coffee beans are used to make about 3-4 ounces of concentrated espresso.

Is it OK to have 2 shots of espresso?

Yes, it’s completely fine to have a double shot of Espresso.
For healthy adults, the caffeine intake limit is 400 mg per day. And there is 120-133 mg of caffeine in a double-shot Espresso.
So having 1-3 double Espresso shots in a day is highly unlikely to cause any health problem.

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.

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