Espresso is a coffee beverage born in Italy. It is both a method of brewing coffee and a descriptor for the rich flavored coffee produced by forcing hot water through fine-grind coffee beans. This is done within 25-30 seconds to acheive the distinctive taste and aroma of fresh espresso.
Espresso coffee is different than standard coffee, as espresso is somewhat thicker and has crema on top. The crema is a brownish foam that forms on good espresso, that adds to the complex taste and wonderful aroma.
Espresso also has more suspended dissolved solids compared to regular brewed coffee or drip coffee. That dissolved coffee provides a higher dose of caffeine, which makes any espresso based drink a great choice for early risers.
The first sign of espresso quality to check for at your favorite café is crema. A good espresso bar will always serve espresso drinks with crema on the surface.
Of course, no matter how talented your barista or how fancy their portafilter, the most important factor for flavor has nothing to do with the brewing method, and everything to do with which type of coffee bean your café is using.
There are many grades and subtle flavor differences, some with more or less caffeine.
Because espresso coffee is brewed by forcing hot water through ground coffee, a finer the grind creates a shot with richer flavor and more caffeine. A quality coffee grinder is as important as an automatic espresso machine to brewing good espresso.
It is also important to know how espresso is ordered and served. It is done in small pours called an espresso shot. A solo is one espresso shot, and a doppio is two shots, also called a double. Doppio’s have become the more standard fare for regular espresso drinkers.
Whether your barista pulls a solo or doppio, it is usually into a demitasse cup. A demitasse looks like a small coffee cup, and it will hold either amount of espresso.
While espresso is served in a small coffee cup, that does not mean that it is meant to be gulped down. A shot of espresso is not the same as a shot of tequila. There is a correct way to enjoy it.
The aim is to savor the drink and enjoy its rich, strong flavor. Sip at it but drink it quickly enough that you get the full effects of the crema on top.
When first trying an expresso, no one wants to look unsophisticated by drinking it wrong. However, how do you know how to do it if you have never had one? Here are a few basic steps to make sure you get the most out of your espresso and look good while doing it.
While espresso is a great drink on its own, it is also a great base for other coffee drinks. There are lots to choose from. Try ordering a few different ones to find your favorite espresso-based drink.
Any coffee shop has a basic comfort brew, but when you get into the world of specialty coffees it can be intimidating. With so many terms and variations, it’s hard to know what to order, let alone the proper way and etiquette of drinking it.
Whether you are out at a café or brewing at home, there is a science to it. Understanding the science and the world of espresso means a more enjoyable experience when ordering and drinking it. Choose your espresso and sip away.