Espresso… isn’t that just a technique to prepare coffee in a certain way? Yes. And no. I’ll explain.
Espresso – The Drink
Of course, there is the coffee drink named espresso, so named for the technique used to prepare this beverage. A literal translation of espresso is expressed, and this is exactly what happens when pulling an espresso. Coffee beans are ground to a very fine, almost sand-like, consistency then the coffee grounds are packed into the portafilter of an espresso machine and steaming hot water is forced through them. And, VOILA, an espresso.
Once the espresso has been pulled, it can be drunk as is or made into a myriad of other drinks like cappuccino, latte, macchiato, americano, and more.
Any coffee bean and roast level can be used to make an espresso, though often the roast is dark which tends to make a bolder flavor. That intense and concentrated flavor is perfect for standing up to the frothed milk and other flavors added for those specialty drinks.
Espresso – The Beans
Last week we talked about coffee blends
and, essentially, that’s what espresso coffee beans are, blends. The roastmaster chooses two or more varieties of beans and blends them in specific percentages to produce a delicious flavor profile when the beans are medium to dark roasted. As we’ve discussed before, roasting at different
levels brings out different natural flavors inherent in the beans.
As much as dark roasts are accused of tasting burnt or too intense, the flavor in certain beans is actually enhanced by the dark roast. In espressos, this is definitely the case. At CoffeeAM we have five espresso coffee blends and they all have slightly different flavor profiles. Let’s take a look.
– A blend of 100% pure arabica beans from India. Using an Italian roasting style, this blend is brought to a medium-dark which highlights a mellow sweetness, a velvety smoothness, and a rich crema.
– This medium or “full-city” roast of a blend of 100% arabica beans produces a bright, complex, and smoothly well-rounded coffee with a pungent aroma.
– Perfect for cappuccinos and, this medium-dark “Seattle style” roasted blend has an intense flavor, heavy body, and medium brightness.
– The only espresso blend in our portfolio that is certified organic and fair-trade, this medium-dark roast has a medium body with undertones of rich chocolate and creamy caramel.
– This exclusive blend is bright and bold and is made with top-of-the-line arabica beans medium roasted to highlight the fruity and floral undertones.
Espresso – The Grind
And finally, we come to the grind. There is an espresso grind. Like I wrote above, beans are ground extremely fine, almost to a sand-like consistency. The reason for this is to create more area for the water to touch. Remember, the way coffee is made is essentially hot water, ground coffee, and time for the water to extract the flavors. When making an espresso, the steamy water is pushed through the grounds at a fairly rapid pace. In order to get enough flavor in that short amount of time, the water needs to contact a greater amount of coffee. The smaller the grind, the more surface area for the water to touch.
Now, you can have your coffee pre-ground, but it is best if you can grind it just prior to brewing it.
What do you think? Let us know your favorite espresso in the comments below.