Beat 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, brandy, and 1 tablespoon espresso together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese to sugar-egg mixture and beat until well blended, 3 to 5 minutes.
Beat egg whites and a pinch sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture.
Pour remaining espresso into a shallow dish. Dip 1 side of each ladyfinger into the espresso and arrange on a serving platter in 2 horizontal rows of 6 with 2 1/2 ladyfingers in opposite direction on both ends to form a rectangular shape.
Spread 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture onto the ladyfinger layer and dust with 1/2 of the cocoa powder. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers dipped in espresso, mascarpone mixture, and cocoa powder. Refrigerate tiramisu until ladyfingers have softened from the espresso and mascarpone mixture, 2 to 3 hours.