So what exactly is an espresso?
Espresso coffee is s a concentrated form of coffee served at the coffee places in small cups and is a strong cup of coffee. Espresso is made in the espresso machine by forcing hot water through tightly packed finely ground espresso coffee.
The resulting liquid is a deep brown color with a slight froth on top, a brown foam that forms when air bubbles combine with the soluble oils of fine-ground coffee and sits on top of a properly pulled shot of espresso. This froth adds to the rich flavor and lingering aftertaste of espresso.
Espresso makers differ in the water temperatures, the fineness of the espresso coffee, the pressure with which the water is pressed through the coffee and how tightly the coffee grinds are packed in the machine.
Making A Good Espresso
Espresso is made using the exact same plant as coffee, and is grown, processed, and roasted the same way. The difference between coffee and espresso is in the grind and the treatment of the beans.
To make a good espresso, one has to start with a good coffee variety that must have undergone proper grinding. The beans for espresso are ground to a finer consistency than coffee and firmly packed before hot water is forced through using an espresso machine. The goodness of espresso can be determined even from its aroma alone.
Espresso has all of the same flavors of coffee but amplified—bitter, lightly sweet, acidic, toasty. The exact flavor profile will vary depending on the coffee roast. It has a thicker, creamier texture than coffee.
While the kind of coffee beans used for the espresso must be chosen well, you would want to make sure that only filtered water is used for the espresso as the water’s mineral content can affect the taste of the espresso.
Single Espresso 8-10g – Freshly ground coffee with 1 Ounce (30ml) Filtered Water
Double Espresso 14-18g – Freshly ground coffee with 2 ounces (60ml) filtered water
Making espressos is considered an art. Being an espresso barista in some countries is considered a serious occupation requiring occupational training. Baristas learn and practice making a consistently high quality shot of espresso. They learn how to grind the perfect espresso coffee, how to pack the coffee right and how to operate the commercial espresso maker.
Making the best espresso possible is very important as it is a starting point or base for many coffee beverages.
Caffeine Content in Espresso
While espresso has the reputation of being high in caffeine, it all depends on how much you drink. Since the beverage tends to be served in smaller servings than coffee, it can sometimes end up having less caffeine than standard, brewed coffee. Double and triple shot drinks and mixed drinks like red-eyes can up the caffeine level significantly.
Espresso contains 29 to 100 milligrams in a single shot, often hovering around 75 milligrams. A double shot contains 58 to 185 mg. For comparison, a cup of drip coffee can contain 80 to 200 mg depending on the variety and brew.
Since espresso can be made with any kind of coffee, the acidity in espresso will vary depending on the roast. Lighter roasts are more acidic since darker roasts tend to hide the bean’s natural acidity.
Buying and Storing
Look for fresh-roasted, whole, high-quality coffee beans for the best results. We recommend purchasing beans from your favorite local coffee shop or specialty grocer. The same goes for ordering espresso at a coffee shop. Choose an establishment that has well-trained baristas and fresh, top-notch coffee beans.
Store whole beans or ground coffee in a thick, air-tight container and store in a cool, dark place. Avoid placing your coffee in the fridge freezer unless you plan to store the entire bag. Removing the coffee beans from the freezer to use them time and time again introduces moisture to the beans and sucks out their flavor. If your beans came in a thick, re-sealable foil bag with a valve, keep them stored in the original packaging.
Once opened, use coffee beans within a week or two if possible. For best results, grind the beans just before using them.
A Final Word
Before reading this, you might have thought that espresso was just a tiny little cup full of stronger, more heavily caffeinated coffee.
Although that’s a very understandable and common misconception, it couldn’t be farther from the truth! Espresso-making is a highly complicated, nuanced, and interesting process.
Plain espresso itself has a wide range of varieties, differing in volume and strength. There are also an almost infinite number of espresso drinks, which combine ingredients like cream, milk, sugar, ice, chocolate, and whipped cream to create a plethora of delicious treats!
Enjoy Your Coffee!
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