Most of us know espresso as that superbly strong cup of coffee we get to jump start our day. We need that extra jolt of caffeine to get our blood pumping, clear our minds, and prime our bodies for the work ahead of us. Just the aroma of freshly ground beans is enough to make us close our eyes, inhale deeply, and relish in its rich bliss.
Espresso is a thicker coffee drink than standard drip, and it is highly concentrated, providing roughly three times the amount of caffeine found in other types of coffee drinks. However, espresso is normally served in one ounce “shots,” where other coffees are served in cups that hold many ounces. In this respect, you likely take in more caffeine through one standard cup of coffee than you do in one shot of espresso.
Flavor Comes From the Brewing Process
Most people assume that a special roast of coffee needs to be used to make espresso. While some coffee shops prefer to use a dark roast for their espresso, it can be made using any blend of coffee.
The flavor of espresso comes from the specific brewing process used to produce it. In order for espresso to be rich and smooth, very hot water must be forced through very fine coffee, under a lot of pressure. The water should be hot, but not have reached the boiling point. If the water is too hot, the brew will taste bitter. If the water is not hot enough, the coffee will be sour.
It was not until this century that a machine was developed that could manage this unique set of brewing requirements, and only those that sufficiently meet these requirements will brew a smooth cup of espresso.