Single vs Double Shot Espresso Shots: All The Differences!

By Evelina •  Updated: 07/23/22 •  8 min read

The Best Answer:

A single espresso shot contains 63 mg of caffeine, while a double espresso shot has double the caffeine (126 mg of caffeine). The flavor and the brewing process are pretty much the same for both of these shots.

If you ever go to a coffee shop and order an espresso, the barista will ask you whether you want a single or double shot. But what’s the difference between the two?

Today, we’ll be discussing the key differences between single and double-shot espresso shots so that you can make the best choice for your caffeine needs!

What Is An Espresso?

single vs double shot espresso shots

Espresso in Italian means “pressed out.” It’s a coffee brewing method that involves forcing hot water through tightly packed, ground coffee beans.

The result is a small but potent coffee with a rich flavor. Espresso is the base for many other popular coffee drinks, like cappuccinos, lattes, and iced coffees (like the ones you get from Starbucks).

Espresso is made using an espresso machine. There are two types of espresso machines: pump-driven and steam-driven.

Pump-driven machines use a pump to create pressure that forces water through the coffee grounds. This is the most common type of espresso machine.

Steam-driven machines use steam to create pressure. These machines are less common because they can be more difficult to operate.

The newer, pump-driven espresso machines are semi-automatic, which means that they do some of the work for you. Qualified baristas can still make a great espresso using one of these machines.

What is A Double Shot of Espresso?

A double espresso shot is just what it sounds like, two shots of espresso in one cup.

This means that twice the amount of water and coffee grounds are used to make the drink. As a result, a double shot of espresso is much stronger than a single shot.

A double shot of espresso is also called a “doppio.”

How Are Single And Double Shots Different From Each Other? 7 Differences

Single vs Double Shot Espresso Shot: Differences

Now that we went through the basics of espresso and espresso shots, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of the difference between a single shot and a double shot.

Let’s start by discussing the key ways that these two types of espresso shots are different from each other:

1. The Number Of Coffee Grounds Used.

The number of coffee grounds you use will affect the strength and flavor of your coffee. If you want a strong coffee, use more grounds. If you want a weaker coffee, use fewer grounds.

A single espresso shot uses 7 grams of coffee grounds, while a double shot uses 14 grams of coffee grounds. This doesn’t mean that a double shot will be stronger because you still add twice the amount of water.

2. The Brewing Time (Extraction Time).

The brewing time is the amount of time it takes to make an espresso shot. If you have an espresso machine with multiple groups, you can make several espresso shots simultaneously.

A single shot takes 25 seconds to brew, so if you have 2 or more groups, you can make 2 or more shots at the same time. A double shot takes 50 seconds to brew.

3. The Crema.

The crema is the foamy, golden-brown layer on top of an espresso shot. It’s made up of coffee oils and gases that are released during the brewing process.

A single shot of espresso will have a thinner crema than a double shot. This is because there’s less surface area for the crema to form on.

4. The Taste.

The taste of an espresso shot is affected by the coffee grounds, the brewing time, and the crema. A single shot will have a weaker flavor because fewer coffee grounds are used.

It will also have a thinner crema, which can affect the taste. A double shot will have a stronger flavor since more grounds are used.

5. The Caffeine Content.

An espresso shot contains 64mg of caffeine. A double shot contains 128mg of caffeine. This is twice the amount of caffeine in a single shot.

If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to stick with a single shot. If you need an energy boost, a double shot may be a better choice.

6. The Cost.

A single espresso shot usually costs $1.50. A double shot usually costs $2.00. The price will vary from cafe to cafe, but you can expect to pay more for a double shot.

7. The Filter Basket You Use.

The filter basket is the part of the espresso machine that holds the coffee grounds. A single shot uses a 7-gram basket, while a double shot uses a 14-gram basket.

You can’t use a double shot basket for a single shot because it won’t fit in the portafilter. Likewise, you can’t use a single-shot basket for a double shot because you won’t have enough coffee grounds.

What Happens If You Add Milk?

Milk and espresso are two unbreakable bonds. I mean, what’s a cappuccino without milk or a latte?

However, if you’re wondering what happens if you add milk to a single shot or double shot of espresso, the answer may surprise you.

Adding milk to espresso shots changes the taste and texture of the drink. A single shot of espresso with milk will have a smoother texture, while a double shot of espresso with milk will be more velvety.

The taste of the drink will also change. A single shot of espresso with milk will be sweeter, while a double shot of espresso with milk will be more towards the bitter side.

So, if you’re looking for a sweeter drink, go for a single shot of espresso with milk. If you’re looking for a more intense flavor, go for a double shot of espresso with milk.

Sugar is always an option too, no matter which espresso shot you choose, but if you’re looking for more natural sweetness, stick to the single shot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Single vs Double Shot Espresso Shot - FAQs

Is Single or Double Espresso Stronger?

When you brew a double espresso shot, you use twice the amount of coffee grounds, which makes people think that it would be stronger. However, because you also add twice the amount of water, the drink is actually no stronger than a single shot.

It’s like drinking two cups of coffee instead of one – you’ll just be more awake, but the coffee won’t be any stronger (in terms of taste and caffeine per volume).

Are 2 Shots of Espresso a Lot?

If you are new to drinking espresso, then two shots may be a lot. Espresso is very strong and concentrated, so it’s important to start slow. For a first-time drinker, we recommend sticking to one shot.

If you are used to drinking espresso, then even two shots of espresso may not be enough to give you a caffeine buzz.

Remember that it’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it on caffeine. If you start to feel jittery or anxious, it’s time to put down the espresso and take a break.

How Long Should a Single Shot of Espresso Take?

A single espresso shot will take anywhere from 30-40 seconds to make. First, you need to grind your coffee beans. If you have an electric automatic grinder it will take less than 5 seconds to grind the coffee.

Then you need to dose the ground coffee into the portafilter. This should take around 5 seconds. The next step is to tamp the coffee. This should take around 3 seconds.

After tamping, you will need to attach the portafilter to the espresso machine. Once it is attached, you will need to start the brew cycle. A brewing cycle will take around 25 seconds.

Once the shot is brewed, you can then start to enjoy your delicious espresso!

How Much Caffeine in One Shot of Espresso?

A single espresso shot contains 64mg of caffeine. This is more than double the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee, which has around 30mg of caffeine.

Last Thoughts

If you reached the end of this article, you should now have a good understanding of the main differences between single and double espresso shots.

In general, espresso is a very strong and concentrated drink and sometimes one shot just isn’t enough. If you are new to drinking espresso, we recommend starting with one shot and then working your way up to two shots.

I hope you liked this article and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Happy Brewing!


Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.

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