|Photo Credit: Di Bella Coffee|
Welcome back to my Coffee Journey, a joint post for A - Z 2022 and Ultimate Blog Challenge.
Today it's all about Espresso, the heart of every coffee beverage.
Espresso is used to describe the method of brewing, in which hot water is forced under pressure through a compressed bed of finely ground coffee. It's is the base for every steam-heated, steam-frothed milk beverage you may call your favorite: Caffè Latte, Cappuccino, Caffè Macchiato,...
Espresso has its roots in Italy, where this type of coffee preparation emerged in Milan around 1900. There, before the introduction of other methods, it was prepared exclusively with steam and served in bars only at the counter.
The name espresso goes back to so-called "coffee locomotives" manufactured between 1840 and 1870. Their name alludes to the analogy of preparing coffee with steam and a steam locomotive. Luigi Bezzera of Milan was able to capitalize on the popularity of the association of coffee with steam-powered express trains when he patented the first machine for caffè espresso.
However, Espresso is just one method of making coffee: my favourite way for example is using my French Press. Technically this is not "brewing", but "steeping". Here's a post on how to make coffee using a French Press.
|Photo Credit: Rachel Brenner on Unsplash|
Other people like their siphon brewer or mock pot, or they practice pour over. And then there is filtration or drip coffee.
Due to the strong roasting, the ground coffee for espresso contains less caffeine (about 212 mg of caffeine per 100 grams of liquid brewed coffee) than an equal amount of ground coffee for filter coffee. Accordingly, with the typical portion sizes, the amount of caffeine per cup of espresso is also lower than per cup of filter coffee.
In case you were wondering.
Let's talk about the three components of an espresso shot:
Crema, Body and Heart.
I know, I know. You've been spending all your life believing your mental and physical wellbeing was all about Mind, Body and Heart.
Sorry to burst your bubble. Speaking of...
Crema is formed during the extraction process when water and coffee bean oils emulsify. After coffee beans are roasted, they begin to release CO2. Most of that is released into the air between roasting and grinding, but what CO2 remains in the cells is released during grinding.
When hot water hits the coffee grounds with the high pressure of an espresso machine, the water emulsifies the oils in the coffee and then gets supersaturated with CO2, resulting in lots of tiny bubbles that make up the foamy layer of crema.
The fresher your coffee is, the more foam you're going to have, so consider it a quality feature.
Crema usually tastes more bitter than the espresso itself. If you separate the crema from the coffee and drink the coffee, it’s going to be sweeter. Because of crema’s intense flavour, there are different opinions on dealing with it. Some recommend skimming it off the espresso, while others recommend stirring it in.
The middle layer is called the body and should be a caramel brown color.
Finally on the bottom of the espresso shot it the heart of the espresso. Its color should be a deep, rich brown. The heart of the espresso contains the bitter qualities, which balance out the sweetness of the crema and the espresso's aroma.
That was a lot to take in!
You sure deserve a coffee break now. I do hope you're going after an espresso!
|Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash|
PS: Nespresso capsules may be super convenient and pretty looking, but if you're about good coffee, keep looking ;-) And it's not that I didn't adore George Clooney.
PPS: In my book "expresso" is not an acceptable alternative proncuntation. Only exception: your native language is Spanish or Portuguese.
PPPS: I have a theory about people and their coffee. Whether you prefer black coffee or your latte says a lot about your personality. More about it in my letter X post.