What Is The Optimum Extraction Time For A Pressurized Basket?

By Mark •  Updated: 05/07/23 •  6 min read

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

You must find the perfect extraction time to make a delicious cup of coffee. This refers to the amount of coffee that is dissolved in the water.

There are ways to control the extraction time and to customize the brew to suit your tastes. But what is the optimal extraction time when using a pressurized basket?

What Is The Optimum Extraction Time For A Pressurized Basket
What Is The Optimum Extraction Time For A Pressurized Basket?

Most people prefer an optimum extraction time for pressurized baskets between 10 to 25 seconds. The right time might depend on the type of bean, the machine, and personal preferences. Too little extraction time and the coffee will be weak. Too long, and it will taste burnt and bitter. 

These ballpark figures should help you find a good extraction time. But it would be best to experiment to find what works for you. Keep reading to discover the best extraction time for a pressurized basket.

Finding The Perfect Extraction Time For A Pressurized Basket

Finding The Perfect Extraction Time For A Pressurized Basket
Finding The Perfect Extraction Time For A Pressurized Basket

The exact extraction time you should be using will vary a little, depending on the machine you have and the dosage you are aiming for. But there are a few limits that you should be aware of:

  • The lower limit is around 20 seconds. Anything less than this, and you won’t be able to get enough flavor from the beans.
  • The upper limit is between 30 to 40 seconds. Much more than this, and you risk creating a burnt brew.
  • The most common yield time is between 20 to 30 seconds. This is the industry standard and is the approach that you will find most coffee shops using.  

What Affects The Extraction Time?

There are a few elements to consider before deciding on the extraction time. These elements include:

  • Amount of coffee you are using. Too much coffee and the water will find it hard to penetrate the thick layer. Too few beans and reaching the correct brewing pressure will be hard. Because of this, it’s recommended that you use 11 grams for a single shot and 18 grams for a double shot.
  • Grind size. A pressurized machine will require finely ground beans. If it’s too coarse, the water will penetrate through too easily.
  • Tamp pressure. How you tamp the puck isn’t as crucial for pressurized machines as non-pressurized options. But you should lightly tamp down the grounds. This will ensure that the grounds are sitting flat. But too firm, and the water will struggle to get through the grounds. This will lead to a slower extraction time and the risk of burning your coffee.  
  • Water pressure. The higher the water pressure, the faster the water will flow through the grounds. You can adjust this element on your machine. I usually place a jug under the machine and turn it on to test this element, aiming to see between 200 and 280ml within 30 seconds.
  • Basket size. The size of the hole in the basket will limit how quickly water can flow through the machine.

How Extraction Time Impacts Taste

By paying attention to how the coffee tastes, you can quickly discover whether your coffee is under or over-extracted. Here are some of the signs you should be looking for:

  • Under-extracted coffee. This will often lead to a weak brew, as the water isn’t getting enough time to release the flavor from the beans. You might also find that there are more notes of acidity in the brew. You might even start to pick up some notes of saltiness.
  • Over-extracted coffee. The most commonly reported issue is a bitter taste. This can feel like you have burnt the beans. At other times, you might notice a scratchy flavor, which can taste like you are drinking sandpaper. Interestingly, over-extracted coffee will suppress the flavors, like under-extracted coffee, leaving you with a bland brew.

Calculating The Optimum Extraction Time For Pressurized Baskets

To calculate the perfect extraction time for a pressurized basket, follow these 3 steps: 

  1. Use a stopwatch app and brew a coffee. 
  2. Start timing from the moment the first drop comes out of the machine. 
  3. Finish when the last drop has landed in your cup. 

This is the extraction time. You should note this to track which settings produce good results and which don’t.

Calculating The Optimum Extraction Time For Pressurized Baskets
Calculating The Optimum Extraction Time For Pressurized Baskets

The good news is that pressurized baskets are much easier to operate than their non-pressurized counterparts. As a result, once you find the proper extraction time, you can keep using that setting and get delicious results.

But you should adjust these settings a little when using a new type of beans. Thankfully, it shouldn’t be a huge change. You might need to adjust the extraction time up or down a few seconds.

Tips To Dial In A Pressurized Portafilter Extraction Time

You can adjust the extraction time in a few ways to get it to the right setting. Here are some things to try:

  • Changing the grind size. If it’s too fast, you must grind the beans finer. Too slow, and you’ll need to make it a little coarser.
  • Consider the tamp. It’s easy to overlook, but the pressure of the tamp can significantly impact extraction speed. Make sure that you aren’t pressing too tight and blocking water flow.
  • Look at the settings. Most of the time, the machine will already be the recommended settings when you get it out of the box. But you should still be able to change the water temperature and pressure to suit your tastes.
  • Clean the machine. Slow water flow might be causing problems. This could be caused by a clog in the machine. This can be caused by mineral build-up from tap water.
  • Check the beans. Sometimes, you will find that the coffee beans can cause a bitter flavor, even though they are being extracted correctly. This is most common when you are using inferior products from a supermarket.

Final Thoughts

Proper extraction time is crucial in preparing the perfect cup of coffee. Thankfully, this is relatively easy. The coffee should taste okay if it’s in the range of 20 to 30 seconds. But you can still experiment to fine-tune the blend to better suit your tastes.


G'day from Australia! I'm Mark, the Chief Editor of Portafilter. I'm super passionate about everything coffee-related and love to spend endless hours mastering pulling the perfect shot on my Breville Barista Express. Follow on: Linkedin and Facebook.

Read These Next