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How to always get the BEST espresso from your bean-to-cup coffee machine

How to always get the BEST espresso from your bean-to-cup coffee machine

A great tasting coffee is not just about the bean. 

There's nothing worse than a cup of coffee that is too bitter and lacks that delicious depth of flavour.

We often get new customers (especially offices) come to us with the complaint that their current coffee supply is too bitter, or too sour. They are looking to TrueStart to help, and of course we do!

But, I have to be honest with them. The problem may not be with the coffee! 

We always, always start with the equipment and here's why.

The flavour of coffee hinges on how we extract it. Two things determine how creamy and delicious your espresso tastes. It's a recipe with two ingredients;

  1. The correct brew ratio (coffee : water)
  2. The correct extraction time 

There are 3 reasons your coffee is tasting too bitter or too sour

1. Over or under extraction

Not enough water results in sour, under-extracted coffee, and too much water results in bitter, over-extracted coffee. The espresso ratio we recommend is 1:2 (coffee:water), but if your machine has not been recently calibrated for the beans you're using, it is likely that this is contributing to a less than perfect taste. Brew ratio is all about getting the balance between the amount of ground coffee and the amount of water used correct. 

A quality barista will weigh their coffee dose and time their extraction to make sure it is perfect every time.

A quality machine must do the same. Volumetrics and coffee machine programming are critical to making your coffee taste smooth.

If your coffee machine servicing is not up to date, the calibration could well be off resulting in coffee that tastes too bitter or too sour. Or maybe your machine was never calibrated in the first place?

2. Grind Size

If your grind setting is too coarse or too fine, it will significantly alter the flavour of your espresso.

Espresso that pours too fast results in under extraction. Espresso that pours slower becomes stronger in flavour as the coffee solids have more time to dissolve – but only up to a point. If the shot pours too slowly due to the grind being too fine, the espresso will taste bitter. You'll need to make your coffee grinds coarser so that the water is not so restricted.

Espresso should pour between 25 – 35 seconds, with the best results usually found between 27 – 33 seconds.

3. Dirty Machine & Equipment

This might sound obvious, but it is breathtaking how regularly we discover that the biggest problem with taste is that no one is cleaning the machine on its daily cycle. 

This is critical upkeep not just for flavour, but for health & safety too. Especially if you are using fresh milk.

Our machines are fitted with telemetry so you can see how regularly the machine is being cleaned. If no one in the office is responsible for this daily activity, it will fall by the wayside and massively impact the taste of your coffee.


If you want to improve the taste of your office coffee, we would LOVE to help. We'll start with your equipment, then we'll determine which of our award-winning coffees is most exciting for your team. We'll perfectly calibrate your machines and you'll be kept up to date with servicing too. 

We're also BIG on getting your team excited - with tastings and workshops (make your own coffee face scrub anyone?) and other fun activities.

Just read some of our Trustpilot reviews here and feel the love!

Drop me an email at and let's chat!

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