Espresso is a coffee brewed from finely ground dark-roasted coffee beans, with a small amount of water. Espresso has a unique taste and can be consumed in many different ways. The most common way to drink espresso is the “lungo” size which is typically about 1 ounce (30 ml) or 3 shots in volume. A single shot or “caffe Americano” is about 2 ounces (60 ml). There are many variations that can be made to an espresso such as adding sugar, milk, ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream etc. It’s important to remember that when ordering your favorite Starbucks espresso drink it’s always best to ask for skim milk!
Espresso is also used in cooking to flavor desserts like tiramisu, panna cotta, and many other Italian-style dishes.
HOW IS ESPRESSO MADE?
The espresso machines work by forcing very hot pressurized water (195°-200°F or 90°C-93 °C) through the finely ground coffee beans. These are tamped down with a special tamper to create an extremely dense area, which is responsible for the great taste of espresso! The pressure required to make espresso is typically 9-10 bars, or 130–150 pounds per square inch (900-1000 pascals).
Espresso machines are now run by an electrical pump, which forces the hot water through the tamped grounds. Most espresso machines can also be used to steam milk by forcing water through a tube hooked to a steaming nozzle on top of the machine. This process heats up or “steams” the milk much like how you would use your microwave at home to heat up milk for coffee.
WHERE DID ESPRESSO COME FROM?
This drink has been around since 1901, when Luigi Bezzera filed a patent for the first steam-driven espresso machine! Before this steam driven machine, people were using coffee machines that used levers and weights to manually pull hot water through the ground coffee beans.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ESPRESSO AND COFFEE?
Espresso has a stronger, more concentrated flavor than coffee. The grinds for espresso are ground much finer than those used for drip coffee makers and as such will produce a very strong taste. There is typically around 1 ounce (30 ml) of liquid in a single shot of espresso.
PROS AND CONS OF DRINKING ESPRESSO
The pros to drinking espresso are that it’s usually stronger in caffeine than most other drinks, therefore making an individual feel more alert and awake. It also contains antioxidants which help to fight free radicals that may cause cancer or heart disease. Cons include the fact that it can sometimes cause anxiety and also dehydrates you.
WHAT ELSE IS IN YOUR ESPRESSO?
People often ask “what else is in my espresso?” and this varies according to where you’re purchasing your coffee drink. For example, Starbucks contains espresso beans from South America such as Colombia and Brazil, so if you were to compare each brand, you might find that Starbucks contains the stronger and more intense espresso flavor. However, if you’re looking for espresso with low acidity then we recommend trying illy espresso.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE BEST ESPRESSO?
There is a lot of competition out there when it comes to finding the perfect cup of espresso. When it comes down to it, taste is subjective and what might be the best espresso for me may not be the same as for you! We recommend trying out different types of espresso drinks at your local coffee shops or grocery stores. You can even try making your own by using an espresso machine!