The word "espresso" refers to a method of brewing that's unique in two important ways:
1. In brewing espresso, hot water under high pressure is forced througha bed of finely ground coffee to extract a thick, flavourful essence ina
concentrated form. This "espress" (quick) method of brewing can produce a cup in less than 25 seconds.
2. In serving espresso, each cup is prepared fresh toindividual order. With the consumer waiting on the coffee (rather thanthe coffee waiting on the
consumer) every cup is deliciously freshtasting.
What's required to make great espresso?
In Italy, where espresso was first invented at the turn of the century,the key ingredients for espresso are know as "the four M's:"
1. Miscela(blend) = the right blend of coffee beans. There are many differentespresso blends available; in addition, your retailer can
recommendnumerous single origin (unblended) beans, which work well for espresso.
2. Macinazione (grinding) = correct particle size is critical toespresso flavor. Correctly ground and packed into the espressomachine's filter basket,
the coffee will trickle out like honeydripping off a spoon. Too coarse or fine a grind will result in either"instant" espresso (Watery-but-bitter), or
no coffee at all (from aclogged filter).
3. Macchine (espresso machine) = because of the criticalimportance of correct temperature and pressure, the quality of themachinery used plays a much
more important role in espresso than in anyother method of coffee brewing. In addition to high overallconstruction quality, espresso machines need to
be able to consistentlydeliver water at proper temperature (88 c.) and pressure (9 bar + - 1bar).
4. Mano ("hand" of the skilled operator or barista) = themost important ingredient of all. Espresso is truly hand-made coffee,and the skill of the
operator plays the decisive role in determiningcup quality.
How much coffee should I get when I order an espresso?
When it comes to espresso, small is not only beautiful, it's delicious!The best straight espresso is no more than 25-35ml of coffee, brewedinto a warm
demitasse. Filling the cup further (an all-too-commonmistake) produces an over-extracted brew that's thin and bitter.
What about cappuccino and caffé latte, and all those other drinks? Are there any definitions?
A cappuccino is the classic Italian breakfast drink, and consists ofroughly equal amounts of espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk. Theair in the foam
means there's less milk there than meets the eye,resulting in a more intense coffee flavour than in a caffé latte, whichhas little or no foam.
Beyond these basics, there are endlessassortments of options, ranging from drinks flavoured with chocolateand other flavours (caffé mocha, for
example, a chocolate-infused caffélatte), to drip strength coffee made espresso style (the cafféAmericano). It can all seem a bit
bewildering, but the ability to makea unique drink for each individual is one of the best things aboutespresso.
Espresso Brewing Tips
1. Use only the freshest coffee beans.
2. Grind the coffee only as you need it.
3. Experiment with grind and tamping to achieve a steady trickle of espresso into the cup.
4. Use 6-8 grams of espresso per 25-35ml. shot.
5. Brewing time for a single shot should be 20-30 seconds.
6. Keep the machine clean; oily residue will spoil the taste of espresso.
Whenever possible, brew directly into pre-warmed cups to retain heat.Espresso is traditionally served in a demitasse cup, while a cappuccinocup
typically holds 5-6 ounces. Sugar is a common addition to allespresso beverages. Lemon peel, despite its popularity in America, isnot a typical Italian
Classic Espresso Recipes
Espresso: a single shot, 25ml-35ml, served in a pre-heated demitasse.
Doppio: (double) espresso: double the above quantity, served in a cappuccino cup.
Espresso Ristretto: (short or "restricted" espresso): an especially concentrated short
20ml or less espresso.
Espresso Lungo: ("long"): a larger volume of espresso, made either byleaving the machine on longer or by adding hot water to taste to anormal shot.
Espresso con panna: espresso with whipped cream.
Cappuccino: espresso topped with equal portions of steamed and foamed milk.
Caffé Latte: espresso with steamed milk containing little or no foam.
Flat White: espresso topped with hot milk with a small layer of foamed milk served in a cup
Long Black: espresso topped with fresh hot water served in a cup.