What is an espresso?
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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is espresso stronger than coffee?
Because of the way it's brewed, by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee at high pressure, espresso has a higher caffeine content than regular coffee. 1 shot of freshly brewed espresso contains about 63 mg of caffeine, which is about 7 times more than the average cup of regular coffee. Espresso often has to be watered down slightly, or enjoyed with milk, as it a dark, intense flavour when you drink it without any additions. As it forms the base of most coffee recipes, espresso needs to have an intense flavour for the coffee to shine through any other ingredients like milk, sugar, or flavoured syrups.
How do you make espresso coffee?
While espresso refers to a certain method of brewing coffee - forcing hot water at a high pressure through finely ground coffee - it's easy enough to recreate at home without an expensive espresso machine, with NESCAFÉ instant coffee. Add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules to 30ml (2 tablespoons) of water, stir to dissolve, and your espresso base is done. Espresso forms the base of many different coffee recipes.
What are the benefits of espresso coffee?
Coffee has many health benefits, and drinking coffee regularly helps you to get the best of what coffee has to offer. Drinking espresso daily helps to increase your energy levels, your concentration and focus, and it’s also high in antioxidants - these help to keep to keep you healthy and functioning optimally.