How Many Bars of Pressure Are Good For Espresso?

By Evelina •  Updated: 07/23/21 •  8 min read

Coffee is the best thing to get you going in the morning. The feeling of a hot beverage on your lips and refreshing steam wafting up into your nostrils is enough to make anyone feel more awake.

So, are you wondering how many bars of pressure is good for espresso? Well, that’s a great question! If you’re into crafting your own coffee drinks or just have a lot of questions about the art form, this blog post might be for you.

In this article, we will give you a quick rundown of pressure, discuss how it affects the taste of your coffee or espresso, and give tips to help you figure out what pressure is best for you.

What Is Bar Pressure In Espresso?

what is bar pressure in espresso

Bar pressure is an important measurement in espresso machines. It refers to the amount of force being placed on the coffee.

The more bars of pressure you have, the stronger your shot will be. This measurement is only used with espresso machines and not drip coffee makers or other equipment.

If you want to be more technical, bar pressure is also known as a unit of measurement for pressure in water. Most espresso machines are able to reach about 9 bars of pressure.

This is important because it will not only tell you how much pressure was used to brew the espresso, but also help you choose your drink’s strength.

The best way to think about bar pressure in espresso is that the stronger the pressure, the more intense your drink will end up tasting.

The Difference Between High And Low Bar Pressure

bars of pressure in espresso

Since an espresso machine is designed to reach a certain level of pressure, you’ll notice that there are usually a lot of different models and options.

This is because each model has its own pressure setting and brewing technique. This can give baristas the ability to craft more unique drinks and choose strengths for their customers.

If you’re thinking about purchasing your own espresso machine, you should think about what kind of pressure you want. You’ll also have to decide if the higher bar pressure is worth it for a more intense taste or if low bar pressure helps save money and preserve the flavor better.

The Right Bar Pressure For You

So how do you know which level of pressure is good for espresso?

Basically, you have to consider the drink that you want. Each bar pressure level will affect how your drink tastes and how much foam is formed on top.

The range of bar pressure levels goes from 5-15. The lower numbers (let’s say around 6) will produce a lighter taste with less foam.

If you’re looking for a drink that is stronger, you might want to use one with higher pressure levels. Since espresso machines can produce all kinds of different pressure levels, it really is up to your taste.

Just remember that the higher you go with the bar pressure, the stronger and richer your drink will be. If you’re looking for a lighter shot or a less intense flavor, then aim for 6-7 bars of pressure instead of 9+.

Knowing The Basics

how many bars of pressure in espresso

If you’re not sure how to figure out what bar pressure you like best, then here are a few tips that might help:

1. If you want your drink to be more intense, go for higher bar pressures. It will give you a stronger and richer taste because of the higher pressure.

2. If you want a lighter, less intense taste that won’t hit as hard, choose lower bar pressures. It’ll be a more mild taste with less crema and a lighter cup overall.

3. A barista may try various shots until they find one that tastes right to them personally or gives them the quality they’re looking for in their drinks.

4. Some baristas might start off at high pressure and then make adjustments accordingly. This is because it gives them more control over the final taste and color of their espresso.

5. If you’re looking for darker espresso drinks, then try starting with low pressure (like 6 bars). This will produce a milder taste that will give you a dark, rich color without being too powerful.

There Are Other Factors That Can Affect Your Espresso Final Taste

One thing to note is that the bar pressure level isn’t the only factor in how your drink will taste or look. There are a lot of other things to take into consideration.

1. The Quality Of Your Machine: If you have an old espresso machine, then you’re not getting the best quality of coffee. Your coffee will have a more bitter taste than usual because of this and it could ruin your drink.

You should consider purchasing a new espresso machine if your old one isn’t working properly.

2. The Kind Of Beans You Use: Some are more intense than others and they’ll create a bolder taste on the whole. If you’re looking for something light, then you should try mixing your beans with a milder variety instead of using just one type. Doing so will help tone down your drink.

3. The Type Of Grinder: There are different kinds of grinders out there that will affect the overall taste. A cheap grinder could ruin your drink because it isn’t powerful enough to crush through the beans. You should look for something with a powerful motor and high speed so you can get an even grind and a decent shot every time.

4. The Amount Of Coffee And Water You Use: If you want a stronger taste, use more beans in the shot. If you want a milder taste, use fewer beans. The same applies to water. If your drink is too strong, try adding more water to dilute it.

5. Not Using Filtered Water: If you’re not using filtered water to make your espresso, then consider it. Filtered water produces better java than tap water. It’ll give a more even taste and is easier on the machine as well.

6. Experimenting: If you want to know what type of bar pressure level will work for you, try them all out. You might find that you enjoy a certain kind of bar pressure better than others.

Depending on the type of machine and bean, this can lead to many different tastes for your coffee drink. The more you try out various combinations, the closer you’ll get to find what works best for your taste buds!

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ

Are 15 bars enough for espresso?

Only the best coffee makers on the market today can actually produce 15 bars of pressure. If your machine is producing 10 or 12, then you are good to go!

You need to be sure that you’re choosing a quality machine to get this kind of pressure. Cheap models will only produce much less than 7-9 bars, which can affect the overall taste of your drink.

If it’s possible for you to invest in a commercial-grade espresso machine then do so because it’ll help improve the way your coffee tastes.

What do 15 bars mean in an espresso machine?

It is the highest out of all common bar pressures, and it creates a tasty drink that will please your taste buds. As long as you have a machine that can produce 15 bars of pressure, then you don’t need to worry; you’ll be able to enjoy a great-tasting espresso!

Is it hard to use an espresso machine?

If you’re using a quality machine and following the directions, then it shouldn’t be hard at all. These machines are built to make strong coffee drinks so just follow the instructions and you’ll get a delicious espresso shot every time.

Why is there no crema on my espresso?

A lot of things can affect the amount of crema on your espresso. The type of coffee you’re using, the machine it’s being made in, and how long you let it sit are just a few examples.

Last Thoughts

In the end, it’s really up to you how much pressure your espresso bar should be. If you like a lighter coffee with less intense flavor and feel, then go for 5-6 bars of pressure.

However, if you prefer more intensity in your cup that is rich and full-bodied with lots of flavor notes – try using 9 and above bars!

And don’t forget to experiment by adding flavors (like almond milk) or sweeteners (honey)!

More About Espresso Machines


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.