Suppose you want to learn how to make espresso at home or understand the difference between coffee and espresso. In that case, this blog post is espresso-ly for you.
What is Espresso?
Espresso is a full-flavored, concentrated form of coffee that is served in a "shot." An espresso shot is made by forcing pressurized hot water through very finely ground coffee beans using an espresso machine. You do need an espresso machine to brew espresso. However, you can use any type of origin and roast of coffee. Changing the kind of origin and roast will affect the flavor profile of your espresso, so it's good to play around and figure out what you like best.
One of the prized components of a delicious shot of espresso is the "crema." Crema is a caramel-colored foam that sits on top of a correctly pulled shot of espresso. This happens because espresso is an emulsion. The separation between the dark espresso and creamy top results from the emulsification process. The crema is essential for flavor, texture, and cool latte art!
How to Drink Espresso?
A shot of espresso can be enjoyed as is, or you can use it to make a lot of popular coffee drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos. While espresso is served as a "shot," it isn't meant to be consumed like a shot (simply shooting it back). It's meant to be slowly sipped so that you can take in the full, rich flavor. "Affogato" mention you can take a scoop of vanilla ice cream and pour a shot of espresso over it; this is called an affogato!
Espresso shots are served in demitasse cups or specially made espresso cups. Double espresso shots are called doppio, extracted using double the amount of ground coffee in a larger portafilter basket. Lastly, espresso can be made lungo or "long" using the same amount of ground coffee but twice the amount of water.
The Difference Between Espresso and Coffee?
Espresso is made from the same beans as coffee, but it is stronger, thicker, and higher in caffeine. Keep in mind that ounce for ounce, espresso does have more caffeine, but it all depends on how much you drink and the size of your beverage. The main difference between coffee and espresso is in the grind and the treatment of the beans. Espresso beans are ground to a finer consistency and then firmly packed before hot water is forced through. Espresso typically has a thicker, creamier texture than coffee as well.
Making Espresso at Home
- First off, you need an espresso machine; there are many options out there. One popular, highly rated espresso machine is the Breville Barista Express. If you are looking for great espresso at home and don't want to invest in an expensive machine, a Moka Pot is a great option. Here is a link to The Bialetti Express Moka Pot on Amazon.
- Even with a fancy machine, you can't get good espresso if you don't start with excellent coffee. Traditionally espresso is made with a darker roast, but you can use any origin and roast of coffee. It's essential to have freshly roasted coffee (like ours, which we guarantee to ship within 24 hrs of roasting!).
- Before pulling your shot, you must weigh out your coffee. Some weigh the beans before grinding, while others prefer to do it after; either way, the coffee beans must be ground. Select espresso machines have built-in coffee grinders, but you can also buy your own grinder. (Or purchase coffee already espresso-ground by us). You want the grind consistency to be less coarse than sand, yet not so fine that the espresso machines can't push water through the portafilter.
- Now fill your portafilter, which is the holder for ground espresso coffee that is attached to the espresso machine. Then tamper down the grounds with a coffee tamper to create an evenly distributed puck. This is key to getting a proper extraction. Then put the portafilter back in the machine.
- It's time to brew your espresso. Some machines have preset times for either single shot or double shot espresso. If your device doesn't have preset times use a stopwatch to time your shots to ensure you pull the perfect espresso. Voilà, you now have espresso!