A God shot is a fairly new term to American language, occurring first in the late 1990s or early 2000s. It refers to the most perfect, ideal, and heavenly double shot of espresso that can be had. According to most people who either have had or made a God shot, there’s a certain degree of skill required to make one, but there’s also a certain amount of hoping, and possibly praying after you’ve done everything you can to try to produce one. Even the most skilled baristas in the world may only produce them from time to time, and for some this means that the bar is continually raised when producing the next one, making these shots all but impossible to produce. If one God shot was paradisaical, the next one has to be somehow better than paradise to qualify as the best espresso you could possibly drink.
According to some baristas, the God shot can’t be made at home. It tends to require a professional espresso machine. It also, and again this definition is open to change, has to be a double ristretto. This is a double shot of espresso that is “restricted,” meaning that water flows through ground coffee much more slowly due to a finer grind. Moreover, the cup is removed before all liquid is done running through the espresso machine, so the final amount of liquid is not served.
The goal of the double ristretto, especially if you’re aiming to make a God shot, is that the espresso shot is incredibly tasty, but lacks the characteristic bitterness for which most espresso is known. It should also have incredible aroma, mouth feel, temperature and color. It is, according to espresso lovers, that one cup of espresso that approaches perfection and a revelation in coffee experience.
Some object to referencing God when creating the God shot, but the term makes sense in perspective. A truly skilled barista still needs some type of divine intervention to produce one, and most average making one in ten God shots when creating double ristrettos. Additionally, the term is highly subjective, for who will judge perfection exactly the same? Some people may be handed what a barista considers the ideal espresso shot and not even recognize the presence of greatness in a cup.
Another important aspect to making this shot may be a careful inspection of beans prior to grinding. Any defective beans have to be removed if you’ve got a chance to produce a God shot. Just as the shot is the world’s most perfect cup of espresso, the beans have to be the world’s most perfect beans. On the other hand, sometimes “fools” or those new to the game of making espresso produce a God shot by accident. This can cause respect among older and more seasoned baristas or be dismissed as one of those casual miracles of coffee that occur only a great once in a while.