How Much does your Espresso shot weigh? If you are not weighing your shots then the correct answer is "I have no idea." A less correct answer is "I have no idea and I do not care." Why should you care? You should care because unlike other forms of coffee, the weight of you espresso will have a profound affect on the taste of the shot.
Most people will measure the input by either weighing what goes into the hopper if they are single dosing, or will weigh what comes out into the basket if they keep the grinder hopper full. Some, like me, have a time programmed on their grinder that correlates with a calibrated weight - 3.8 seconds will equal 14g in the portafilter for example. What ever method you have available, if you are not measuring what ends up in your portafilter then you should get a gram scale and begin weighing your beans. Your espresso will thank you.
Weighing the beans is only half the battle for inter-shot consistency though. Weighing the out put in the shot glass or espresso cup will tell you how much of the coffee in the portafilter was extracted in 30 seconds. Sounds a bit anal probably to some, but the results do not lie. The cone can look the same coming out from under the portafilter. The tiger striping will look right, and the nice flecking on the crema can be picture worthy.
So everything is fine, right? Weigh out a couple shots - they can look very similar but have different weights and - you guessed it - different tastes. When your scale reads similar grams in the cup after using the same weight in the portafilter and the same length of time for each shot, then you are approaching a level of consistency. This is a crucial step toward excellent espresso - only when you can create the same shot with consistency can you truly start appreciating the effect small changes in dose, grind, time and temperature can have on the same coffee.