Espresso is a magical beverage. Well, I’m not its biggest fan but the creamy and sweetly syrup of a perfectly brewed espresso proves irresistible at times. In the coffee consumption world, espresso’s popularity continues to take a hit but this is traceable to the emergence of giant, super-sweet milky drinks. Of course, I’m talking about the ever-emerging easy and instant drinks made from milk products. The diffusion of misconceptions about espresso doesn’t make things any easier.
The continued perception of espresso as a bitter, noxious, and caffeine-filled drink with no purpose has affected overall consumption. Problem is, when potential espresso coffee lovers order from coffee shops, they are served a passionless drink hence reinforcing the stereotype. A well-prepared espresso should be sweet, and creamy with a slight bitterness. This article strives to provide justice to espresso by offering insights on why you should go ahead and try it.
What is Espresso?
Espresso is a coffee beverage that is made by forcing pressurized and boiling water through coffee grounds. The resulting drink is thick, creamy, and has a concentrated flavor. When making espresso, you need an espresso machine that forces hot water at a pressure of about 9 bars through the finely ground coffee beans.
How to make espresso
The making of espresso involves four main stages which include tamping, dosing, extraction, and finally brewing. Tamping is the process of compressing the ground coffee in the filter basket using a tamper. Dosing refers to adding the right amount of ground coffee to the filter basket. This is followed by extraction which is basically forcing hot water through the coffee grounds in order to produce espresso. Brewing is simply making sure that the water is at the right temperature and pressure before making espresso.
Coffee tip 1
The best espresso is brewed in a time range of 20 – 30 seconds. This brings out the purest aroma and flavor of the drink; just as it was traditionally prepared.
Selecting the best espresso coffee beans
The best coffee beans for making espresso are the Arabica coffee beans because of their sweeter taste and a less bitter aftertaste as compared to the Robusta coffee beans. The Arabica coffee beans are also known to produce a thicker crema. This is the yellowish layer of foam that is found on top of a freshly brewed espresso.
Coffee tip 2
If you want to enjoy a truly authentic espresso experience, then you should go for a single-origin coffee. These coffee beans have a unique flavor profile that is not altered by other flavors.
When selecting your coffee beans, you should go for the dark-roasted ones. This is because they have a higher concentration of oils which makes them ideal for making espresso. The dark roast also gives espresso its signature taste and aroma. However, do not feel confined to a specific roast or coffee bean. Don’t simply go for the brand mark ‘espresso’ since it denies you the opportunity to blend and find your taste.
Whichever coffee bean you settle on, freshness matters, hence always utilize coffee while at its prime. This doesn’t mean you’ve to brew coffee fresh after roasting. Coffee is allowed to ‘rest’ for a few days to allow the removal of carbon gas – which affects brewing. Modern packaging shows the dates of roasting. Be on the lookout.
Storing roasted coffee in fridges remains a controversial topic and the jury is still out. To keep your coffee roast from moisture, and odor, use an airtight container.
Coffee tip 3
Maintaining coffee freshness is difficult. Always buy in small amounts for the best-tasting and freshest coffee.
Grinding the coffee beans
The next step after selecting your coffee beans is to grind them. This is an essential step in making espresso because the grind size will determine the overall taste and quality of your espresso. If you use pre-ground coffee, then you will not be able to get a consistent grind size. This is because the pre-ground coffee has been sitting on the shelves for who knows how long.
When grinding your coffee beans, you should aim for fine grind size. This will help to extract more flavor from the beans and produce a richer espresso. Always use a scale to ensure the precision of how much dosing each shot. For instance, a double shot of espresso (usually 2 ounces) requires 13 – 18 grams of coffee. Remember the espresso machines can be different, and having a standard measure, such as a 15 grams Infuser is recommended.
How to Make Espresso Without a Machine
It is possible to make espresso without a machine, but it will be much harder. You will need to put in a lot more effort and the end result will not be as good as if you had used an espresso machine.
The first thing that you need to do is to grind your coffee beans very finely. This is because you will need to use a lot of pressure to extract the coffee and if the grind size is too coarse, then the coffee will not be extracted properly.
Next, you will need to put the ground coffee into a filter bag and then place it over a cup. Make sure that the filter bag is tight so that no ground can escape.
Now, you will need to use a plunger to press the coffee grounds down. This is where a lot of pressure is required. You will need to apply even pressure so that all of the coffee grounds are extracted.
Once you have pressed all of the coffee out, you will need to remove the filter bag and enjoy your espresso.
If you want to make a proper espresso, then you will need to use an espresso machine. These machines are designed specifically for making espresso and they make it a lot easier to do so.
How to make espresso with AeroPress
The AeroPress is a popular coffee-making device that can be used to make espresso. It is very easy to use and it produces a very good quality espresso.
- Grind your coffee beans very finely. You should aim for a grind size that is similar to table salt.
- Add the ground coffee to the AeroPress chamber and then add hot water. The ratio of coffee to water should be 1:16.
- Once you have added the water, you will need to stir the mixture and then place the plunger on top of the chamber. Make sure that the plunger is tight so that no air can escape.
- Wait for around 10 seconds before you start to press the plunger down. You should apply even pressure so that all of the coffee grounds are extracted.
- Once you have pressed all of the coffee out, you can remove the plunger and enjoy your espresso.
How to make espresso with Moka pot
The Moka pot is a popular coffee-making device that can be used to make espresso. It is very easy to use and it produces a very good quality espresso.
- grind your coffee beans very finely. You should aim for a grind size that is similar to fine sand.
- Next, you will need to add the ground coffee to the Moka pot and then add hot water. The ratio of coffee to water should be 1:16, similar to Aeropress.
- Once you have added the water, stir the mixture and place it over a burner. Wait until you hear the hissing sound signaling the readiness of the drink,
- You can then remove the lid and enjoy your espresso.
7 Best Tips for Making a Great Espresso
There are a few things that you can do to make sure that your espresso is of the best quality possible.
- Use freshly ground coffee beans: This is one of the most important things that you can do. Freshly ground coffee beans will make a huge difference to the taste of your espresso.
- Use filtered water: Using filtered water will also help to improve the taste of your espresso.
- Use the right grind size: If you use too coarse of a grind, then the espresso will be weak and if you use too fine of a grind, then the espresso will be bitter. The best grind size is somewhere in between these two extremes.
- Use a quality espresso machine: A quality espresso machine will make it much easier to make a great espresso.
- Use a quality bean grinder: A quality bean grinder is also important for making a great espresso.
- Don’t overdo it: Don’t add too much coffee or water to the espresso machine. This will make the espresso too weak or too strong.
- Use a good tamper: A good tamper is important for making sure that the coffee grounds are evenly pressed down.
Making espresso is an art form and it takes a lot of practice to get it right. However, if you follow these tips, then you should be able to make a great espresso.
Scientifically-proven health benefits of espresso
Now that we know what espresso is, let’s delve into some of its benefits.
Aids in Weight Loss
Espresso is a low-calorie beverage as compared to other coffee drinks such as cappuccino and latte which are high in calories. This means that if you are looking to cut down on your calorie intake, espresso should be your go-to drink. In addition, espresso contains compounds such as caffeine and chlorogenic acid which help to boost metabolism and aid in weight loss.
Boosts Energy Levels
Espresso contains caffeine which is a stimulant that helps to increase alertness and energy levels. This makes espresso the perfect drink to have if you need an energy boost.
Studies have shown that drinking espresso can help to fight depression. This is because espresso contains compounds such as caffeine and antioxidants which help to improve mood.
Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Espresso also contains compounds such as caffeine and antioxidants which have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
So, there you have it, some of the scientifically-proven health benefits of espresso. Now go out and enjoy a cup!