Espresso – The Ins and Outs of this Concentrated Coffee Drink

The coffee drink espresso packs quite a punch to the taste buds because of its strength but did you know that a serving actually has less caffeine than a normal drip cup of coffee? There is a belief that special coffee beans are used to create espresso but that is not entirely accurate. Espresso is all about how you make it.

While there is no special type of coffee bean needed in the preparation of espresso, you will discover that the taste can be different based on the type of bean, how it is roasted and where it came from. Arabica beans are the most popular since approximately 70% of the world's coffee production comes from them. Therefore, it is the place where they were exported as well the roast that creates most of the nuances of flavour.

Several countries in Europe and Asia prefer the darkest roast for their espresso while Americans prefer medium to light roasts. True coffee connoisseurs look to Hawaii and Jamaica for the richest, complicated flavours. As espresso was created in Italy in the early 20th century, it took quite a few years before it caught on in the United States. Even then, many people do not like it straight up but rather blended into other drinks like lattes, mochas and cappuccinos.

How It's Made

To understand how espresso is made, you have to understand that the basics in coffee-making itself are based on running very hot water over ground coffee beans to produce an aromatic brew. With percolators, drip coffee makers or even a French press, the result is a cup of regular coffee. Coarsely to finely ground coffee beans are the predominant types put into one of these machines.

Espresso requires ground coffee beans that are the consistency of powder with no discernible form indicating a gritty texture. To create that little cup of kicks to the taste buds requires a certain process. Basically, to make espresso, you must force a little quantity of steaming hot water through a compactly packed amount of powdery fine coffee grounds.

The result of this process is a shot of espresso coffee which has a slightly thicker consistency than regularly brewed coffee. It is usually a dark, reddish color and produces tan foam called the crema. Steam pressure is used to create this dark drink and the spring lever pistol action machine was the first of its kind to do so. While it was a manual type, new models of coffee machines incorporate the steaming feature.

When making an espresso, both the type of grounds used as well as how it is tightly packed is part of the process. The more tightly packed coffee grounds you can fit in the coffee bean receptacle the stronger your drink will be. Pack it too much however, and not enough water makes its way through the grounds and you come up short - also possibly damaging the machine. The pressure of the steamed water as well as its temperature also plays a part in making this strong drink. There are a variety of machines with features that allow for espresso making, even one for the stove top. So if you are craving a strong espresso, head to your nearest coffeehouse or even purchase an espresso machine for your own home now that they are more affordable.