Packing a little power to its punch even if you haven’t tried espresso you have certainly heard the name and a lot of legends about its power. Espresso does pack a powerful punch because it is one of the strongest coffees made anywhere in the world.
To learn all about espresso just continue to read our article. It explores the subject using a fine tooth comb and takes you on an adventure that gives you all you need to know about this style of coffee.
What Actually is Espresso?
It is hard to create a good definition of espresso because that effort is very subjective. This strong cup of coffee tastes different to different people and they may add their own special ingredients to spice it up to meet their personal preferences.
To put it in blunt terms, a single shot of espresso is about 7 to 9 grams of coffee grounds having up to 195°F water pushed through it at extremely high pressure for about 20 to 30 seconds all to create about a 2 to 3 ounce cup of strong coffee.
Each ounce of espresso has about 63 mg caffeine content, which means each double shot of espresso has approx 126 mg caffeine. However, this should vary among the type of bean, the amount of coffee ground used and other factors.
To boil that definition down, espresso is extremely strong coffee that packs a caffeine punch that would wake a sleeping rhino from a coma.
There are some things you should know about espresso...
One is that it is not a coffee bean. The espresso coffee used comes from normal coffee beans. Nor is it a roasting style. In fact, no roasting is used in the process of creating espresso. Finally, espresso is a brewing method. It is one of the myriad of ways to get a great tasting cup of coffee.
How to Determine If Espresso is for You
Now that you know what espresso is, the next step is to determine if drinking this style of coffee is right for you. To do that you have to ask yourself some important questions:
Of course, not everyone should make espresso and there is nothing wrong with that attitude. For those people who like just a good cup of coffee in the morning, then espresso is probably not for you.
Or, you may just want the brewing method to be simple, easy and fast. Your busy schedule may prevent you from mastering how to make espresso and you prefer not to brag about your new skills.
These attitudes are not negative signs but very good clues to determine if you want to be an espresso drinker or not. You are not going to be seen as a second class person if you do not want to make espresso.
The Health Benefits of Drinking Espresso
By now everyone knows that coffee, whether pre-ground or fresh ground, has vital health benefits. The good news here is that espresso is not excluded from that healthy living club.
When you opt to use the espresso brewing method you are not losing any of the nutrients coffee brings to your body. Here is a list of 5 health benefits you get when you drink espresso:
The Espresso Making Process
What to Look for in an Espresso Machine
If you are game and really excited about making espresso every morning or as a treat you need a good espresso machine to help you. A bad machine may discourage you and turn you off of learning how to make espresso.
Here is what to look for when shopping for an espresso machine
There is more than one type of machine
This is important as some of these machine variations may not fit your personality or busy lifestyle. You need to find the machine that works best with your schedule and your espresso making talent.
Ease of cleaning
Too much cleaning can take the fun out of making espresso. You want a good easy-to-use machine that does not complicate things by being hard to clean up.
No matter what you buy, the purchase price is always going to be a factor. The price tag covers extra features, better durability, and material quality, and so on. You will need to find a machine that offers what you want at a price you can afford
The number of drinks it makes
Good espresso machines can make more than just espresso. Check out how many coffees or other drinks that can be made by the machine. You may not want to drink espresso all the time and a little variety is the spice of life
The construction of the machine
Look at what construction materials were used to make the machine, how long and good the warranty is, the brand and its reputation. Also, try to figure out the repair rate and cost if there are a lot of electronic parts inside
The machine’s size
You do not want a big machine if it is larger than your kitchen. Make sure it fits that extra space you have at home comfortably. Plus, you want to make sure the machine makes enough espresso every serving.
Having built-in features can save you money as you do not need to buy other appliances to make your espresso. For example, does it have a built-in grinder, water filter, cup warmer, programmable settings, frothing wand and more.
How to Make Espresso (Step-By-Step Guide)
#1. The Tools You Will Need
The first step in making good espresso is having the right tools gathered together at the same time and in one spot. Do this first so you do not stop the process to look for a missing item. Here are the tools you will need:
#2. The Brewing Process
Fill the water tank in your machine or hook up the built-in water line. This depends on the style of your machine
Once that is done, you turn on your machine and wait. It may take a while before the water is hot enough so bring a book with you to fill in the time or do another chore while you wait
Step 3 - Do a bean test run
Grind only a few beans first to make sure the grinder is set to the ground quality you want. The finer ground you get the better your espresso should be
Once you are satisfied with the grind quality, grind the rest of your beans into your filter stopping at the amount the filter is made to hold. Make sure the coffee is settled and distributed evenly throughout the filter
Now you need to use your tamper and pack the coffee ground evenly but not loosely
Put the filter into your machine and lock it in place. It is important that you do not hit the filter doing this step. Impacts should damage your tamped coffee ruining the brewing process
Start the pump, then stop it before you put too much water through the filter. The water in the filter will drip through filling your pot or cup
Enjoy your cup of espresso after stirring in your favorite ingredients
How to Make Espresso Without an Espresso Machine
There are 3 good methods to use where you can make a great tasting espresso beverage without having to turn to an espresso machine to make it.
The First Method: the Aeropress
Step #1 - get your Aeropress ready and place 2 filters inside
Step #2 - place 2 tablespoons of coffee in the filters
Step #3 - add 3 1/2 ounces of boiling water and press
The Second Method: the Moka Pot
Step #1 - place 3 1/2 ounces of water in the bottom of the pot
Step #2 - then place 2 tablespoons of ground coffee in the filter
Step #3 - place on your stove’s burner and let the heat do the rest
The Third Method: the French Press
Step #1 - grind about 2 tablespoons of coffee or a bit more
Step #2 - heat 1 cup of water to just under 212°F and add the coffee to the filter
Step #3 - put a tiny amount of hot water on the grounds and wait for 30 seconds. Then add the rest of the water. Let steep for about 4 minutes
Step #4 - Press the plunger down using even pressure twice then pour
Tips for Making Good Espresso
Not everyone is a champion espresso maker their first few times out. That is why learning some tricks of the trade are very important. These tips should help your espresso making efforts and get you to be a pro in no time:
Crema in Your Espresso is not a Wasted Ingredient
Crema actually plays an important role in how your espresso looks and tastes but not everyone agrees with that conclusion. The following information is designed to help you come to your own conclusions about Crema an if it is worth including in your espresso shots.
What is that foam?
The good news is that the foam is not harmful to you nor does it usually taste bad. Crema has color, usually a rust brown, it has a good aroma to most people’s noses, and it has a good taste, again for most people.
The foam, or Crema, forms when the air bubbles come in contact with the oils of the coffee grounds you used to make your espresso.
It is a sign...
When you see Crema on top of your cup of espresso, you are getting the sign that says the person who made your cup is not a novice but a very experienced and talented barista.
But that is not all it is a sign of. When you see that foam on top, you know you are getting a cup of espresso that top quality coffee grounds. In other words, you are not getting a poor cup of espresso.
Can you make a perfect Crema?
It is possible to do but the idea of perfection is subjective and depends on the opinion of the barista making the espresso. To give you a standard to shoot for, the cream cannot be too thick, too thin and must hang around for about 2 minutes.
Here are a few tips on how to judge the quality of your Crema:
Correcting Common Mistakes When Making Espresso
When people are new to making espresso they tend to make little errors that ruin their attempts. Making mistakes is a part of life and the only time it is wrong, is when you do not learn from them and correct what you are doing
Here are some common mistakes that you can avoid when trying to make a perfect cup of espresso:
1. Too many chefs spoil the broth
This is true for making espresso. Some beginners use internet searches to get tips and they end up with a confusing mess as they see that so-called espresso experts do not agree with each other.
Find one authority and learn the basics of espresso making from it and then move on from there when you are ready to expand your knowledge
2. Picking the wrong coffee
Old coffee can influence the taste of your espresso and it is never for the better. You will want to use coffee beans that are not older than 14 days after their roasting period.
Also, make sure you do not put those beans in the fridge or freezer. Store them correctly in room temperature areas.
3. Eyeballing is not a precise measurement
Some people think they can tell just by looking at the amount of beans they have is the right amount just by looking at them. It doesn’t work. Use a scale to make sure you are using the right amount of beans.
4. Your tamping technique needs improvement
When tamping some people can get lazy and think they have done a good job. Unfortunately, their grounds have cracks, are uneven, not distributed correctly and the end result is a bad tasting cup of espresso.
Proper tamping takes time to master and you can’t get lazy. You need to make sure your tamping is even, not done with too much pressure, and it has to be consistent.
5. The water is wrong
Some espresso makers do not have sophisticated tastes and think that any water will do. Of course, you can use any type of water you want to make espresso but do not expect great tasting results when you do.
Avoid hard water and use reverse osmosis water to make sure the espresso taste is not unduly influenced.
6. Dirty machines ruin your espresso
This is a common mistake many people make. The reason for that is cleaning is just not fun. It is a dirty job and someone has to do it. Make sure your espresso machine is thoroughly cleaned after every use. (not every cup).
7. Using the wrong quality of milk
Yes, even milk plays a role in how your espresso will taste. You may want to be healthy and opt for low fat milk but this is a no-no. That is because it is hard to get a good texture out of low fat milk.
A higher fat content milk is better.
8. Ignoring the recipe
Some new espresso makers ignore the importance of the brew ration. Make sure you understand its importance and follow that brew ratio to a T.
Some Common Crema Mistakes
It happens even in this small step. Novice Crema makers make some common mistakes that influence the taste of their espresso. Here are a few and their solutions:
How to Enjoy Your Cup of Espresso
When ordering your espresso remember these terms: solo means a single shot and doppio means a double shot of espresso.
There are a variety of ways in which you can enjoy your cup of espresso. They may all be equal so here is just one way to get the most out of your cup of freshly made espresso
Step 1 - Pick the right cup
A ceramic style mug that is uncolored is always the perfect choice when it comes to drinking espresso.
Step 2 - Warm your cup up
Believe me. This should make the espresso better
Step 3 - Drink some sparkling water
The sparkling water helps bring out the hidden flavors of the coffee beans used in making your espresso. The sparkling water also cleans your palate so you can taste the espresso only
Step 4 - Stir in your Crema
It blends the two flavors and depending on your point of view either helps the espresso flavor or hinders it.
Step 5 - Drink away but do it slowly
Enjoy your espresso. Don't forget one important thing: espresso is meant to be savored not downed like a shot of whisky
Our Recommended Espresso Recipes
- 1Have your mug ready
- 2Pour about 3 ounces of espresso into a different cup
- 3Pour 3 ounces of hot water in your drinking cup
- 4Pour the espresso into the hot water
- 5Stir and drink
- 1Pour 3 ounces of espresso into a cup
- 2Add an ounce of your favorite flavored syrup
- 3Add 1-3 shots of steamed milk
- 4Enjoy your Latte
- 1Pour in 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup
- 2Add in your espresso and vanilla extract
- 3Add in steamed milk
- 4Top with whipped cream
- 5Finally, add cinnamon
- 1Froth your cold milk with steam and a frothing wand
- 2Pour over your cup of espresso
- 3Enjoy your Cappuccino
- 1Pull 2 shots of espresso
- 2Add some sugar as your preference
- 3Add some hot water (leaving enough room for other ingredients)
- 4Pour some whisky and stir
- 5Top with whip cream
- 1Pour into a cup 2 shots of espresso
- 2Add sweetened milk and ground cardamom
- 3Add some brown sugar as your preference and stir
- 4Finally, add some half and half milk