The espresso was invented for its brevity but has stayed due to its powerful taste and versatility.
ESPRESSO is a highly concentrated coffee drink, the basis of a litany of beverages found in cafés all around the world. Some people mispronounce it “expresso”—an almost intuitive mistake considering the quick process to make the drink.
Making espresso requires a dedicated espresso machine, most of which consist of a chassis with a boiler. Once the water gets hot enough, a pump allows it to flow into a metal device called a head or group, which contains packed grounds.
The pressure from the machine then forces the water through the grounds, extracting the precious coffee oils in seconds. The liquid coffee excretes through a bottom spout in the head.
Normally, espresso is served in one- or two-ounce (30 or 60 ml) amounts depending on the machine’s head or group size. The industry refers to espresso in one-ounce (30 ml) form as a shot. So when a customer requests a triple-shot espresso, assume the order calls for three ounces (90 ml) of espresso.
Although some consider espresso the strongest-tasting coffee, paradoxically, it has the lowest caffeine content by serving (though not volume). People who claim to be “high” on espresso after drinking a shot or two may be experiencing what’s known as the placebo effect—they think the espresso’s caffeine will affect them, so it does.
Perhaps the fact that it’s easy to drink a high volume of espresso, especially when it’s buried in mounds of froth and made from higher caffeine Robusta coffee beans, might offer an explanation.
In this article, you will learn the following:
• What factors go into making the perfect espresso.
• How to select the appropriate grind for your espresso maker.
• What extraction time, tamping pressure, and espresso bitterness mean
• How to differentiate and select an espresso maker
The History and Science of Espresso
Italy’s communist government originally embraced espresso as an attempt to shorten the world-renowned Italian coffee break. Giovanni Achille Gaggia actually invented espresso. In his Milan coffee shop, Gaggia patented a piston, which he attached to existing coffee brewing machines to try to reduce the coffee’s bitterness. In 1947, after eight years, he succeeded. In many ways, it was the most significant coffee-brewing development of the modern age. In the 1960s, espresso took off around the world, as American tourists tasted the drink in Italy and brought it home, and films started showing movie stars drinking it.
For home aficionados, espresso is complex and anything but efficient. But to its fans, it is the holy grail of coffee preparation, a coffee obsessive’s dream hobby. It has all the maddening, glorifying manic-depressive experience of a great love affair. Espresso mastery demonstrates the hobbyist’s expertise (and madness) to friends and relatives. Part of espresso’s allure is, no doubt, its preparation. With practice and skill, you’ll get better at making espresso. One day, your Espresso machine may even become your first choice.
Most coffee-making methods depend on gravity or steeping, but espresso is a high-pressure extraction method, which means you can produce a strong-tasting beverage quickly. Small variations in grind fineness, timing, or water pressure result in significant flavor differences. Serious espresso hobbyists thoroughly research their process. They want to know the pressure (measured in bars—the higher the number, the greater the pressure) and water temperature. If a drip machine takes thirty seconds to reach ideal brew temperature, it won’t ruin then cup; thirty seconds is the total brewing time for an espresso.
What Defines a Great Espresso?
You must consider many factors when attempting to create a great espresso.
Factor N° 1: Grind
Nearly everything comes down to the grind with espresso. No two Espresso machines or grinders are perfectly alike. I cannot stress enough the importance of matching the correct grind with a given machine. Preground coffee is especially problematic for home espresso making. Though preground is usually fresh enough for home drip methods, it will likely never be fresh enough for espresso and will almost certainly result in a lackluster shot.
Each day, check and calibrate the espresso’s grind before making consumable shots. Humidity variation from one day to the next affects espresso. Also, if the grind is too coarse, the water will flow through the head too quickly, resulting in a weak, thin shot. If it’s too fine, the water will flow too slowly through the head, and a bitter, thick coffee will result. At each session, try different grind settings to discover which creates the perfect grind consistency for your machine.
Factor N° 2: Taste
Espresso tastes distinct from other coffee brewing methods. It is so different that it often benefits from its own blends and roasts. Also, because of its on-site creation moments before serving, rather than sitting for hours on a burner, it’s guaranteed to taste fresh. A well-made espresso shot should taste almost tangy. It is definitely bitterer than traditional filtered coffee, so expect some bitterness. Most consumers do not drink straight espresso, but they drink latte beverages that contain espresso. The sweetness of the milk in these drinks nicely offsets any bitterness.
If the grind is too coarse, the espresso shot flows too fast. Connoisseurs who do have straight espresso limit their bitterness by drinking blended espressos or origin coffees such as Brazil’s and carefully optimizing the brewing process. Of course, you want a little bitterness, but not too much.
Espresso mavens claim that they can deliver smooth, silky, and even sweet shots. If you only drink properly made drip coffee, your first espresso may be a shock, especially if you expect sweetness.
The roast is certainly a factor in bitterness. For less bitter espresso, experiment with lighter roast coffees. A middle ground exists between a light roast’s sharp acidity and a dark roast’s bitterness amidst its caramel notes. Someone who drinks espresso straight may find satisfaction there.
Factor N° 3: Foam
In addition to its taste, a successful espresso shot is judged visually, primarily by the layer of brownish foam on top called the crema – espresso’s equivalent to a diamond ring’s stone. It should appear strong and beautiful. The crema also indicates a viscosity, or creaminess, of the entire beverage, part of its appeal.
If the grind is too fine, the espresso shot barely drips out. If purchasing an espresso machine, keep in mind the following industry specs:
• 200˚F (93˚C) water temperature.
• Seven grams (1/4 oz) fine ground coffee per one-ounce (30 ml) serving. Most machines come with their own appropriately sized spoons.
• Nine atmospheres pressure (132 pounds per square inch). This indicates how much pressure the manufacturer of the machine has put into the water as it goes through the coffee.
• Twenty-five to thirty seconds of extraction time.
As you become more immersed as an espresso hobbyist, you will no doubt find passionate enthusiasts who prefer different variables and manufacturers that cater to different experiences. Some variables, such as extraction time, are user controlled.
In other words, play with them until they suit your taste. The crema indicates the espresso’s strength, beauty, and creaminess.
This is the End: Espresso Coffee: What Defines a Great Espresso according to you? leave your opinion in the comment section. we love to hear from you. have a wonderful day