As stated in my earlier blog, Did You Know, “coffee taste is in the senses (vision, smell, taste) of the drinker.” Maybe you are still looking for that favorite taste, or maybe you have experienced the taste of Espresso and would like to make that your number one coffee. I offer the following information to help you understand Espresso, what it consists of, how it is roasted and how it is brewed.
Espresso is not a coffee bean or a roasting method, it is a process of brewing. Espresso is a coffee drink that is produced by forcing pressurized hot water through finely ground coffee beans, a process that is commonly called “pulling a shot.” The resulting cup of coffee is called a “shot.” And it is full-flavored and concentrated. This process creates a crema on top. This crema is reddish-brown in color and is created by the air bubbles combining with the oils of a finely ground coffee. It adds to the flavor and the aroma of the drink. The crema and the quick brewing process gives espresso a fuller flavor, lower caffeine, and a longer more satisfying aftertaste.
The history of Espresso is somewhat extensive and did not come about simply by someone deciding to develop a process that would leave a rich tasty cup of coffee with a crema on top. The result of the crema was an accident. Coffee was a thriving business in Europe in the 19th century. But coffee processing was slow and sometimes took up to five minutes. It is stated, “Necessity is the mother of invention” so in 1884, Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy was granted a patent for what some consider the forerunner of the present-day Espresso machine.
There is no established standardized process for creating Espresso, but the Italian coffeemaker Illy’s definition of the correct instruction to prepare espresso is a good measure:
A jet of hot water at 88°-93°C (190°-200°F), under a pressure of nine or more atmospheres, through a seven-gram (.25 oz) cake-like layer of ground and tamped coffee, results in a concentrate of no more than 30 ml (one oz) of Espresso.
Nine atmospheres of pressure is the equivalent to nine times the amount of pressure normally exerted by the earth’s atmosphere. A major problem was early machines produced only 1.5-2 bars of water pressure.
After World War II a café owner from Milan, Achille Gaggia further improved the previous designs which resulted in achieving water pressure of 8-10 bars. But more importantly, because of the high-pressure water, came the discovery of crema – that became the defining feature of Espresso. The evolution of the Espresso machine continues and as late as 1960 Ernesto Valente introduced many more innovations and espresso firsts.
As noted in the Italian history of Espresso, the ability to purchase a shot of Espresso required the coffee lover to go to a coffee café. For most Espresso lovers, that may be the case today. However, coffee lovers, in general, are enterprising and where there is a need, there is a solution. It is possible to purchase individual Espresso machines, so you can prepare your cup at home. If you have an Espresso machine, you may want to skip to the end of this blog. However, not everyone can afford $1200-$2000 for a coffee pot. But you still want the same robust, full-flavor of an Espresso. There are ways to brew without the machines and although the final results may not be up to the same high flavored quality of an Espresso machine, it will provide a great substitute and will provide much more flavor and richness than your current brewing pot.
There are three common ways to brew Espresso without an Espresso machine. These inexpensive machines are the AeroPress, the Moka Pot, and the French Press. Although these machines are inexpensive to purchase, you may need to purchase a burr grinder, scale, and kettle (preferably long spout).
Espresso Coffee from The Enjoyable Grind is a 100% Arabica and is a blend of Brazil Cerrado- Bracosta Estate, from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, one of the world’s most sought-after coffees. This blend offers a soft fragrant aroma, with a sweet chocolaty taste and results in a balanced acidity and pleasant clean taste. This is a dark roast coffee and provides the Crema on top that makes Espresso, Espresso. It can be purchased as whole bean or regular grind.
In the same way, we cannot afford to drive a Lexis but drive a Camry instead, we may not afford an Egro One Top Milk XP NMS for $23,400 but brew our coffee with a Moka Pot instead.