A Shot of Nirvana, Espresso-Style
The early 1990's brought on a boon in the coffee industry with many coffee house chains popping up all over the place. While "regular" brewed coffee can be found in these places, the real draw is the multitude of espresso-based drinks that can be tailor-made just for your taste buds.
With the big, gleaming stainless steel machines, espresso can easily be produced using pressurized steam pushed through tightly packed coffee grounds. The result tastes like really robust concentrated coffee. While some people have a taste for espresso straight up, many prefer one of the various coffee drinks made from it.
CappuccinosCappuccinos are one of the most popular espresso drinks in the world and while certain countries may have slightly different variations, the basic principle in its creation is the same. A cappuccino consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk and milk foam, the result you get from rapidly steaming milk. The milk foam is skimmed off the top of the steamed milk.
Another espresso staple, cafe lattes are created with one-third espresso and two parts steamed milk with a layer of milk foam spooned on the top. A cafe latte is very similar to France's cafe au lait or the cafe de leche in parts of Mexico.
There is some dissention about what really constitutes a cafe mocha. However, the basic recipe calls for one part espresso and two parts steamed milk with enough chocolate syrup added for taste. The entire concoction is topped with luscious whipped cream. You may even encounter a dusting of cocoa powder or chocolate shavings garnishing the top.
Originally named to mock Americans who couldn't tolerate full strength espresso, the Americano is one part espresso and two parts hot water. The hot water dilutes the strength but not the taste of this coffee drink.
The cafe breve follows the same formula as the cafe latte except the breve uses half and half instead of regular milk. The two parts steamed half and half to the one part espresso makes for a richer, smoother coffee drink.
Espresso con Panna
Perhaps one of the most uncomplicated espresso drinks, this coffee variation is an espresso with a layer or dollop of whipped cream. Occasionally, the whipped cream may be slightly sweetened before gracing the top of the espresso.
This is another coffee drink that is slightly misunderstood and made differently in various parts of the world. The majority of coffee connoisseurs agree that espresso macchiato is a shot of espresso with a layer of milk foam on the top.
Going Beyond Espresso
There are more variations of espresso coffee drinks than you can imagine. Have you ever heard of coffee flavour shots? These are concentrated syrups which come in a variety of favourite flavours like vanilla syrup, caramel syrup, hazelnut, peppermint, cinnamon, toasted marshmallow and more. Many people prefer adding a flavour shot to their coffee as opposed to brewing a pre-flavoured coffee as they can control the intensity of the taste by adding more or less of the shot.
Other ingredients can be added to your espresso drinks to punch up the flavour a bit. If you choose an espresso drink with milk foam or whipped topping, you could add a dusting of cinnamon for a slightly spicy "bite" to your drink. Chocolate garnishes are always a hit plus they create a wonderful presentation of your coffee drink.
Taking into account the different types of espresso drinks in addition to garnishes and flavour shots, you literally have thousands of combinations to choose from! You could ask for a caramel espresso macchiato or even a vanilla cafe latte. Let your taste buds be your guide and experiment with your coffee.
Those who truly love their espresso won't settle for anything less than premium fair trade organic espresso beans, which we carry! The Fair Trade practice ensures that coffee carmers are adequately compensated for their crops, while the organic certification ensures that no harmful pesticides or herbicides are used, making your coffee healthier and more delicious.