Making a regular espresso should take 30 seconds from grinding beans to being served.
Why Espressos in America are not Good?
Augusto Marietti
40986

Depends on the grinder more than anything. In order to do this, you would have about eight seconds to accomplish the following:

  • remove the portafilter
  • knock out the previous puck
  • clean the portafilter
  • grind ~20g of beans (for a double — 10g for a single) & dispense into portafilter
  • tamp
  • load the portafilter
  • grab a cup and place it
  • brew for ~22 seconds to extract 30g of espresso (again, for a double — 15g for a single)
  • hand the cup to the customer

It can be done, I know, but most baristas in the US make $5–10/hr in wages plus $5–20/hr in tips. Not exactly a lucrative career. So as you point out next, the turnover we see here prevents a barista from ever developing the skill to turn coffee around at this pace.

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