Troubleshooting Slow Espresso Pours: Causes and Solutions

If you’re experiencing a slow pour with your espresso, but the first few drops are coming out quickly, there are a few potential issues that could be causing this problem. Let’s explore some common culprits and possible solutions to help you troubleshoot and achieve better espresso extraction.

1. Grind size

A common cause of slow espresso pours is an incorrect grind size. If the first few drops come out quickly and then the flow slows down, this indicates that the grounds are too fine. Finer grounds create more resistance and impede the flow of water through the coffee puck.

Solution: Adjust the grind size slightly coarser. Experiment with small changes to find the optimal grind size where the espresso flows consistently and evenly throughout the extraction process.

2. Coffee distribution and tamping

Uneven coffee distribution and tamping can also cause slow pours. When coffee grounds are unevenly distributed or poorly tamped, water finds paths of least resistance, resulting in uneven extraction and slow flow.

Solution: Make sure the grounds are evenly distributed in the filter basket. Use a spreader or your finger to level the coffee bed before tamping. Apply even pressure when tamping to create a level and compact coffee puck.

3. Coffee freshness and roast level

Stale or overly dark roasted coffee beans can also contribute to slow pours. Stale coffee loses its ability to extract properly, while dark roasts tend to be more porous, resulting in slower flow rates.

Solution: Use freshly roasted coffee beans within their optimal flavor window. Experiment with different roast levels to find one that allows for balanced extraction and an appropriate flow rate.

4. Channeling and uneven extraction

Channeling occurs when water finds paths of least resistance through the coffee puck, resulting in uneven extraction and slow pours. It can be caused by inconsistencies in the coffee bed, improper tamping, or irregularities in the coffee puck.

Solution: Ensure even and consistent tamping pressure. Use a spreader or gently level the coffee bed before tamping. Look for signs of channelling, such as uneven extraction or blonding, and adjust your technique accordingly.

5. Machine pressure and temperature

In some cases, low water pressure or incorrect temperature settings on your espresso machine can contribute to slow pours. Insufficient pressure may not provide enough force to properly extract the coffee, while incorrect temperature settings can affect extraction efficiency.

Solution: Check your machine’s pressure and temperature settings. Consult the manual or a professional if necessary to ensure that your machine is operating within the recommended parameters for espresso extraction.


Remember that achieving the perfect espresso pour may require some trial and error. Make one adjustment at a time and observe the results before making further changes. In addition, factors such as humidity, bean freshness, and machine calibration can also affect the espresso extraction process.

By carefully evaluating and addressing potential issues such as grind size, coffee distribution, freshness, tamping, and machine settings, you can troubleshoot and improve the flow rate of your espresso pour. With practice and patience, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious, well extracted espresso shot with a consistent and steady flow.


A slow espresso pour with rapid initial drops can be frustrating, but with a little troubleshooting you can overcome the problem and achieve better extraction. By addressing factors such as grind size, coffee distribution, tamping technique, coffee freshness, and machine settings, you can improve the flow rate and consistency of your espresso pours.

Remember to make small adjustments and observe the results before making further changes. Patience and experimentation are key to finding the perfect balance for your espresso extraction. With practice, you’ll develop the skills to diagnose and resolve problems that may arise during the brewing process.

By understanding the potential causes of slow pours and implementing the suggested solutions, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying delicious, well extracted espresso shots with a smooth and steady flow. So don’t let a slow pour discourage you – use it as an opportunity to fine-tune your technique and create exceptional espresso experiences.


What is wrong if my espresso pours out slowly but the first drops shoot out?

Looks like you’ve got too much ground coffee in the basket. What’s the weight that you’re using? It looks like the recommended dose for the stock basket is 14g, which is a bit lower than the “standard” of 19g or so.

Why is my espresso dripping slowly?

If your espresso machine produces coffee slowly or only drips, check your coffee filters for buildup. If your filter is clogged from small particles or dirt, the flow of the coffee will slow down, resulting in these symptoms. It is normal for filters to become clogged with use.

How do I make my espresso pulls longer?

The ideal brewing time you’re looking for is between 20 – 30 seconds – if you’re running too long or too short, check your grind, dose and tamp, then adjust it accordingly. If your shots are coming out unevenly from both spouts, your tamp needs to be more even.

How do you fix an under extraction espresso?

You fix under-extracted coffee in some combination of three techniques: grind the coffee finer; brew it for a longer time; or increase the amount of ground coffee.

Why is my espresso coming out too fast?

If espresso is coming out of the machine too quickly, there is likely a problem with the amount of resistance the coffee bed provides. The resistance can be changed by adjusting: Grind size, amount of grounds and tamping pressure. Also make sure the portafilter is mounted in the machine correctly.