When you see a bag of espresso for sale at your local coffee shop or store what’s the first thing that comes to mind? What kind of beans are these? Will this give me the same flavor at home? Can I put this in my usual coffee maker?
The answer is yes and no!
The SCA's (Specialty Coffee Association) official definition of Espresso is: 25-35ml (.85-1.2 ounce) beverage prepared from 7-9 grams (14-18 grams for double) of coffee through which clean water of 195-205F (90-96C) has been forced at 9-10 atmospheres of pressure and where the grind of the coffee is such that the brew time is 20-30 seconds. While brewing, the the flow of the espresso will appear to have the viscosity of warm honey and the resulting beverage will exhibit a thick dark, golden crema.
This being said, based on the above definition we now know espresso is actually not a type of bean like most people think, but is both a drink and a extraction process.
There are some additional things to consider when you go to your local coffee shop or roaster to pick up a bag of espresso beans. Coffee that has been roasted for the purposes of being used to prepare espresso will either be a single origin coffee or a blend of several select regional coffees. We use a Blend that brings out a balanced acidity with deep chocolate and sweet cane sugar notes. This allows the customer—and definitely the baristas—to enjoy amazing depth of flavor and substance to our beverages!
Outside of the Roasting process, the majority of the magic of espresso is determined by the barista, grind and the espresso machine itself.
For example, if you were to buy espresso beans yourself and have a standard coffee maker that is perfectly fine! You can ground the beans as you would normally and prepare your coffee as usual, and you’ll have a wonderful cup of Joe. However, if you’re looking for an authentic espresso drink you’ll have and good grinder and use an espresso machine.
Espresso machines are a different contraption altogether! In order for the extraction method to work—which involves hot water and high pressure—the beans must be ground much finer. What is produced is a shorter, more intense and flavorful drink! Due to its richness and robust flavor, espresso can be added to milk and other non-dairy alternatives to create a wonderful and tasty drink!
Now, that you know the differences between espresso and and regular brewed coffee what will you choose the next time you stop by?!