WHAT IS ESPRESSO?
Espresso, the foundation of all coffee beverages. The word itself is derived from the Italian word “espresso”, meaning pressed out or squeezed out. The proper way to prepare espresso is by forcing hot water at 9 bars of pressure through a compacted bed of finely ground coffee beans. This process produces an intensely rich liquid that is low in acidity and high in flavor.
Brewed incorrectly, however, espresso can be a bitter-tasting beverage that lacks the depth of flavor expected from specialty coffee.
Espresso is one of the most misunderstood parts of a coffee menu. Many people think it refers to a particular roast level or blend, but this isn’t always the case. Espresso can be any roast level and is often used to represent a blend because it features many of the characteristics found in different roasts and beans origins.
WHERE IS IT USED?
Espresso originated in Italy but has become popular worldwide due to its accessibility. Unlike brewed coffee, espresso beverages can be easily made in just about any coffee shop. Espresso has become even more popular in recent years due to the introduction of super-automatic espresso machines that allow for nearly hands-off preparation.
HOW IS IT USED?
Espresso’s most common use is in the creation of specialty beverages such as cappuccinos, macchiatos, lattes, mochas and Americanos.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF ESPRESSO BEVERAGES?
Espresso beverages are popular for their low acidity levels which appeal to those who are looking for a less acidic coffee beverage. Espresso drinks are also appealing because of their smooth taste. The combination of reduced acidity and a velvety texture makes for a beverage that is both pleasant and easy to drink.
WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF ESPRESSO BEVERAGES?
Though espresso beverages have low acidity levels, they often lack the sweet fruitiness normally associated with specialty coffee. Much of the fruit flavor found in coffee beans is eliminated along with the acidity during the pressing process. Thus, an “espresso” beverage will normally have a much stronger flavor profile than other beverages on a coffee menu.
IS ESPRESSO DIFFERENT THAN BREWED COFFEE?
Espresso is brewed coffee-just not in the same way as a traditional drip coffee. To make brewed coffee, hot water is passed through ground beans at low pressure in order to extract soluble flavors and oils. Espresso is brewed under high pressure, which produces a more efficient extraction of compounds within the beans. This provides espresso with its higher flavor concentration, but can also lead to some over-extraction of bitter compounds.
HOW DOES ONE PREPARE ESPRESSO BEVERAGES?
Brewing espresso beverages requires a super-automatic or manual pump machine. Neither of these machines is suitable for brewing drip coffee, so it is important to know the capabilities of your equipment before attempting to brew cartridges purchased from Cartridge World.
The traditional cappuccino consists of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 frothed milk. The macchiato is similar but uses less steamed milk, while the latter contains much more steamed milk than espresso. To steam milk for any espresso beverage, it must be heated to 150 degrees Fahrenheit and frothed to between 70-80 degrees. The amount of froth is determined by the drink’s recipe and can be varied to suit an individual’s taste. The Americano, like drip coffee, is a simple shot of espresso diluted with hot water in order to produce a beverage that has similar strength and sweetness to brewed coffee.
IS ESPRESSO THE SAME AS POD COFFEE?
Technically, no. Pod coffee uses water at a much lower pressure to extract soluble compounds from the ground coffee. While both espresso and pod coffee are produced with a higher concentration of soluble flavors than brewed coffee, pod coffee comes nowhere close to the high-pressure extraction found in espresso.
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