Espresso - What Exactly Is It

Whether it is java, lattes, cappuccino, espresso or just a plain old cup of Joe - coffee is America's preferred method of energy boost. With that said, there's nothing like the first double espresso in the morning to clear the cobwebs from our heads so we can face the day. But what is espresso? What makes it different from any other coffee?

Espresso originated in Italy. A term often associated with espresso is "barista," which is a professional operator of an espresso machine, those skilled in making premium espresso. The skill of a barista is comparable to the finest artisan baker. Most coffee drinks start with espresso, which is just coffee that is brewed a certain way. Espresso is prepared by forcing hot water under high pressure through finely ground coffee.

The secret to good espresso is the extraction time, volume, and golden creama which is a thick light brown layer of frothed coffee oils that float on top of a properly extracted espresso. By timing the brewing process just right, the flavorful and aromatic oils of the coffee are extracted, and not the bitter components. The result is a strong flavored but not bitter shot of coffee that is concentrated.

One difference between drip coffee and espresso is that espresso is measured in shots and drip coffee is measured in cups. Another difference is the texture of the grind – drip coffee uses a courser grind while espresso machines need a very fine grind.

Espresso blends in southern Italy are usually roasted into the French Roast stage where almost all of the beans will be about one shade removed from black and oils will start emerging from some beans.

To enjoy your own espresso at home, all you have to do is purchase a personal espresso machine and wholesale gourmet beans. No longer will you have to rely on that drive-through teenager who may or may not use the old espresso grounds already in the coffee machine. With your own espresso machine you will enjoy the finest cup of espresso every time.

An espresso machine is used to yield the traditional Italian coffee brew called "espresso." If you use an espresso machine you use a fine grind. To get an espresso grind with a blade grinder, you have to hold the grind button for a certain number of seconds.

When brewing espresso, the burr coffee grinder is preferred over the blade grinder. The burr grinder supplies uniformly ground coffee that allows for an easier wetting and packing of coffee grounds in the espresso machine. These grounds are perfect for the majority of home pump espresso makers.

When purchasing coffee for your espresso machine, whether it is in a coffee house or in a supermarket, you want to get 100% Arabica - except for espresso blends, which may be a combination of both Arabica and robusta. Arabica beans are normally rich in flavor - while robusta beans have more caffeine, less flavor and are cheaper to make.

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About The Author, Carol Stack
Carol Stack has written numerous articles about coffee and coffee-related topics. She lives in the United States with her husband, three children, and various dogs and cats. Carol and her sister Barbara have a website devoted to coffee lovers who are always searching for a better cup of coffee. Please visit it at: