It’s iconic across the globe, and the base of more delicious coffee drinks than we’d like to count. But why is an espresso so special? Is it the best type of coffee? Why was it this particular way of brewing that made it so popular? Keep reading, and let’s find out.
What is an espresso?
Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee, served in shots, and is often the coffee base of many other types of coffee drinks, such as cappuccino, latte, americano and macchiato.
But what is an espresso? Espresso is not a type of coffee bean or a roasting style – a common misconception. It’s a process of brewing coffee and is instead made by forcing high-pressured hot water through very finely ground coffee beans. This is then topped with a crema, a brown foam, that adds the rich, full-flavoured aftertaste. An espresso is intense and bold, but nonetheless delicious, and is usually served in small demitasse-style cups for this reason.
Origin of the espresso
As with many famous coffee recipes, the espresso was invented in Italy, around 100 years ago, and is credited to a man by the name of Luigi Bezzera, from Milan. He was the first to use a steam-pressure method of brewing coffee, which produced a strong cup of coffee faster than ever before. In fact, the name "caffé espresso" translates to "pressed out coffee", referring to the water being pushed through the finely ground coffee at a very high pressure. By the 1940s, the process of making espresso had been properly fine-tuned, creating the espresso known and used cross the world.
What is the difference between an espresso and regular coffee?
Espresso is the base of almost every type of coffee. Baristas making espresso use water under high amounts of pressure to force its way through compacted ground coffee, which makes a thick, syrupy liquid, with a gorgeous light brown foam layer on top, called the crema. That's the main difference - other coffee types rely on a slower filtering process, allowing hot water to slowly sift through coffee grounds. Espresso also relies on a much finer bean grind, while regular coffee works perfectly with medium ground beans.
- 2 tsps. NESCAFÉ Gold instant coffee
- Water heated to 80º C
- A small mug
- A teaspoon
- A tablespoon