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

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Johny Morrisson

A single espresso is typically about 1-1.25 ounces of liquid extracted from 7-9 grams of finely ground coffee, whereas double espresso is about 2-2.25 ounces of liquid extracted from 14-18 grams of finely ground coffee.

In this article, I’ll break down the key contrasts between a solo one-ounce espresso versus a full two-ounce double shot. We’ll look at the flavor and caffeine boost differences and when to go single or double!

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 yields about 1-1.25 ounces of espresso.

On the other hand, a double shot of espresso is prepared with 14-18 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.

If your shot is taking longer than that you must be using a finer grind size and if your shot is coming out too quickly then you must be using a coarser grind size.

Single Espresso vs Double Espresso

The Difference in caffeine content

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

The caffeine content can vary depending on the type of coffee beans. A double shot has twice as much coffee grounds and water as a single shot, so the caffeine concentration is also double.

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 taste 

Taste-wise, there’s honestly not a huge difference between a single and double shot of espresso. The main thing is just the quantity.

A single shot is lighter and easier to sip straight since it has a smaller serving and less caffeine. On the other hand, a double packs double the punch of bold espresso flavor. It’s a richer, more full-bodied serving that can be a lot to take straight. Doubles are usually the go-to for milky espresso drinks to balance out that heavy espresso taste.

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 of espresso, and the double shot usually costs $1 more than that.

What is the Difference between Single and Double Basket Espresso?

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 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 portafilter rather than a single portafilter. This allows Baristas to serve customers faster by pulling two shots at a time.

spouted espresso portafilter


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

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 a 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 problems.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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