The word “espresso” denotes a very strong cup of black coffee. The specific method of preparation involves hot water passing through coffee grounds under pressure, extracting all the useful substances and aromatic oils. To get the perfect espresso one must have all the ingredients for success:
- high-quality coffee beans;
- the exact amount of coffee (7 g);
- the right grind (average, universal degree);
- perfect water temperature (88-92 degrees);
- sufficient pressure (9 bar);
- and correct extraction time (25 ± 3 seconds).
Primitive household coffee makers can not produce coffee quality on par with that of professional coffee machines in coffee shops and bars. The lack of pressure will affect the taste and appearance of the espresso.
The volume of an espresso is 25-30 ml. Espresso machines typically fill the cup at a rate of 1 ml per second. Don’t be surprised if larger volumes are needed. There are often many reasons for more volume: longer extraction time for different coffee blends, and often visitors simply want more.
Prepare an espresso at home only if you have an espresso machine. Any other way doesn’t achieve the desired effect – a balanced mix of taste, saturation, and volume. Knowing the recipe and correct proportions of espresso won’t matter is you only have a Turk or French-press. To get the full picture of a true espresso, you must have an espresso machine.
You should analyze the order of all the characteristics of espresso. When you are well versed in what makes a perfect espresso, you will be able to tell from first sight (and sip!) how the espresso stacks up. As we have repeatedly said, the leading indicator of quality coffee is the cream (foam). The height of espresso foam should be a few millimeters. Creams should be stable enough to withstand sugar evenly scattered over its surface, so that it slowly and gradually sinks, and doesn’t immerse in coffee right away. Permissible colors of foam are: walnut, dark brown, light brown with dark streaks and slightly reddish hues. Foam which is too light means the coffee is undercooked. Foam that is too dark with whitish spots means the coffee is too strong with too much caffeine. Correctly cooked espresso tastes perfectly balanced. The perfection is palpable – naturally sweet with a clean bitterness that is slightly acidic, even a hint of saltiness. Coffee experts can identify the flavor and aroma of hundreds of espressos. They grade coffee based on geographic origin, climatic conditions of cultivation, the selection, storage, and preparation of coffee beans, and skill of the barista. Errors in any of these steps will be reflected in the taste of the finished beverage. The espresso flavor may contain earthy notes, burnt flavor, the taste of coffee or the taste of underdone immature vegetables. Metallic notes in the aftertaste, acidity imbalance, strange odors from additives or fillers are all indicators of poor quality. Double Espresso (espresso doppio, double) is prepared from 18-20 grams of ground coffee, at a volume of 60 ml. The double espresso will be even thicker and brighter in flavor than the standard portion. Here are just some of the institutions we would love to have a double espresso from – or even two!
Serve and drink the espresso. How to do it correctly.
Well, the balanced taste of espresso can be broken by the addition of sugar, milk, syrups, spices and other ingredients. For some, such a violation is unacceptable, but others believe that mild additives do not interrupt the taste of coffee but, on the contrary, help its flowers open new bright notes. We agree that any additional ingredients in the espresso should be added according to your taste and mood. It’s no wonder this coffee is considered to be an ideal basis for creating a plurality of coffee drinks and cocktails.
But professionally prepared espresso is is only half the story. The second half is being able to bring it to the table or the bar correctly. Sit back in a chair and watch the activities performed by a skilled barista:
- While the coffee is being prepared, on the auxiliary table is placed a saucer, and on that, a coffee spoon. In some places, they can also offer mini chocolate.
- Putting a saucer with a spoon directly on the bar in front of the customer is not considered elegant.
- The bottom of the cup of coffee is quickly dried on a sponge, and then put on the saucer, turning the handle to the left.
- To put the espresso in front of you, the barista lifts the saucer, and places it on your table.
- Within reach of the client must also be a sugar and/or a miniature jug of milk.
If the level of service at the bar you have selected is really perfect, along with a cup of espresso you will also be served a glass of water filled halfway or slightly higher. This must be done for true connoisseurs to quench their thirst before taking strong coffee so they can enjoy all the taste of the beverage bouquet fully.
Want to share your observations and remarks on the espresso machine? Lemarbet is always happy to read your comments! Have a nice coffee!