These days, specialty coffees are all the rage and espresso is enjoying a revival in popularity. Along with its popularity, comes quite a bit of confusion.
What exactly is espresso? How do you make it? How do you drink it? What are the best espresso beans to use? In this complete, yet concise guide we will explore these questions and more!
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks For The Best Espresso Beans
Do You Need Special Coffee?
There are lots of coffee brands that market special "espresso" beans and coffees, but the fact is you can use any finely ground coffee to make espresso.
- The name refers to the method of preparation, not the type of coffee bean.
Our Guides Of High Quality Coffee Beans:
Are There Better Beans For Espresso?
The type of coffee bean you prefer will make the best espresso for you. Authentic Italian espresso is typically dark because that is traditional, but if you don't like dark coffee, you will not like dark espresso.
Choose the type of bean you like best and prepare it as espresso and you are sure to be happy.
What Makes The Best Espresso Coffee?
Naturally, the better quality coffee beans you use, the better your espresso will be. Additionally, the quality of your finished beverage is judged by the quality of the crema. This reddish-brown layer of foam is just coffee, air and water, but its light texture and rich color add an attractive touch to your tiny repast.
When you learn to "read" the crema, you will be able to tell a thing or two about the preparation of the beverage.
You can tell how fresh the beans were by the quality of the foam.
The hot water delivered with high pressure dissolves the carbon dioxide that is produced during the coffee roasting process.
When the coffee is dispensed into the cup, it returns to its normal pressure. At this point the carbon dioxide combines with aspects of the coffee and rises to the surface as foam.
Fresh-roasted coffee produces thicker crema because it has more carbon dioxide and creates more foam. If the crema is thin or weak, the coffee beans were not roasted recently.
You can judge the coffee's strength by evaluating the crema. If it is dark, your espresso is strong.
What Is Espresso Coffee?
This type of coffee was conceived by an Italian named Luigi Bezzera in 1901. He devised the idea and invented the espresso machine because he sought a way to make a quick, tasty, strong cup of coffee.
Espresso is a delectable, concentrated form of coffee that has a texture and flavor quite different from other types of coffee. It is often quite thick, and it has a dense layer of foam (crema) afloat on top.
The foam is created by the process used to create this coffee treat. A special espresso machine is used to force very hot water through a basket of ultra-fine-grind coffee. The grounds are tightly packed; the water pressure is intense, and the brewing time is brief.
Why Is Espresso Preparation So Different?
An espresso machine is entirely different from any other coffee preparation contraption. It is the only method that works by extracting the coffee flavor and essence using very hot water delivered at very high pressure.
While any coffee beans can be used to make espresso, the bean preparation method is different than for other types of coffee. The grind is extremely fine. This makes it easier for the fast, high pressure brewing method to extract a small amount of intensely flavored coffee from the beans.
Espresso Is Ready In A Jiffy!
While it can take up to half an hour to prepare coffee using drip or percolation methods, a single cup of espresso can be prepared in just a few moments.
How To Drink Espresso?
If you are having espresso in a coffee bar, always order to drink on-the-spot. It doesn't take very long to drink a tiny cup of espresso, and part of the experience lies in using the proper demitasse. An espresso in a to-go cup is just tacky!
In a good espresso bar you should receive a glass of sparkling water with your coffee. Cleanse your palate with this water by taking a generous sip, swishing it in your mouth and swallowing it. This will clean your taste buds so that you can really taste your espresso. Since you are probably paying a goodly sum for that little cup of coffee, you'll want to enjoy it to the fullest.
You may or may not wish to skim off the crema. Many espresso gourmets consider the crema to be "just for show". You can use it to judge the quality of your coffee, but many people do not like the way it tastes. You certainly should not force yourself to consume it if you don't like it.
Balance your cup by giving it a quick stir. If you do not stir your espresso a bit you will have a very uneven experience because the thicker, syrupy elements will sink while the brighter aspects will be found near the top. To enjoy your tiny cup completely, use your tiny spoon!
Savor the experience. Don't just toss your little coffee back like a shot of whiskey. Take small sips and roll them on your tongue to experience the full flavor. Savor the initial taste and wait a moment to experience the aftertaste.
Keep about half of your sparkling water to clear your palate afterward. This will help you avoid a stale coffee taste later!
You may be a little startled by the intense taste of espresso initially. Remember that it is a concentrate and that it magnifies the qualities of the coffee. This is why you should always use high quality beans to brew espresso, and you should always choose the beans you like best.
Remember There's No "X" In That Word!
Express yourself correctly when ordering and discussing espresso. The name of this coffee is pronounced "es-PRESS-oh"! Mispronouncing it by adding an "X" is a quick and sure way to inform your listeners that you do not know what you are talking about!
Comparison: Espresso Beans VS Coffee Beans
Remember that you do not have to choose one kind of coffee over another. If you like coffee, mix it up.
Choose the kind of coffee you like and want for any given occasion.
- If you are short on time and need a quick, yet elegant pick-me-up, espresso is the perfect choice.
- If you want to relax by the fire with a good book and a brandy, a flavored coffee would probably be a better accompaniment.
Our Top Picks For The Best Espresso Beans
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments about your favorite espresso beans.