What is Espresso: Everything You Need to Know Explained

Espresso has always been the talk of the town, but what is this beverage? What is espresso? Espresso is a coffee drink made by forcing hot pressurized water through fine coffee grinds. A machine exists for the sole purpose of pulling a single shot of espresso coffee.  You can enjoy this robust coffee drink as it is for that complete, vibrant, and strong coffee flavor. Or you can also use it to whip up the various styles of coffee beverages, ranging from lattes to cappuccinos. Almost all the drinks you see on the menu of a coffee shop are based on espresso. Espresso, on its own, enables you to experience the authentic essence the coffee bean has to offer.

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What is An Espresso Shot?

Espresso, pronounced as ess-PRESS-oh, refers to the complete-flavored and enriched style of coffee that is typically drunk in “shots.” The drink is created by putting pressurized and hot water into the extremely finely ground coffee beans. The entire process is called “pulling a shot.” Compared to the majority of coffee drinks, espressos are made with “crema.” 

Generally, crema is a froth that has a reddish-brown hue of air bubbles mixed with soluble oils that came from finely-grounded coffee. The crema does a lot to an espresso. It increases its rich taste and appealing scent. Most of the time, the crema is an indication that the drink is high-quality and precisely grounded and prepared by an expert barista. The fast extraction procedure of the espresso and cream offers a drink an even fuller and richer flavor, with lower caffeine levels and more prolonged aftertaste compared to drip coffee.

Single or Doppio

Many people have no clue about the real differences between a single espresso shot and double shots. It’s not that simple just like you would imagine it to be and frequently, coffee shops fail to help you determine the difference between the two. However, don’t be intimidated because you’ll be able to learn much quicker than most people since this explanation is made simple and straightforward.

In this contemporary coffee industry, you’ll notice that coffee ratios are slightly funny. Though the past didn’t find any way to measure coffee, innovative and better tools enable people to get extra creative with the way they pull their shots. Conventionally, a solo or single shot of espresso utilizes 7g of  very fine grounds and produces approximately 30 ml of espresso or about one liquid ounce. Measuring shots is a method that only emerged in this modern time, that’s why baristas before needed good eyesight to pull the shot.

It was Starbucks which introduced and made doppio or double shot famous in the 1990s. However they weren’t the inventors of this version of espresso. A double shot of espresso utilizes 14g of coffee and creates about 60 ml of espresso or around two liquid ounces. Double shots are now considered as the standard in different parts of the world when drinking espresso. Typically, if you order a single, the barista will mostly pull a double and utilize a portafilter to divide the shot in two.

Flavor-wise, there’s no difference between a single or doppio. The reason why double was introduced to increase the outcome and make serving easier for busy baristas. But if you look at it, nothing changes between their flavor.

How to Make Coffee Espresso?

An espresso is not just your typical drink. On its own, it is the foundation of most coffee beverages served in many coffee shops, including cappuccino, latte, flat white, macchiato, Americano, cortado, and the list goes on. The large number of espresso-based drinks means that knowing how to pull an excellent shot takes skill, commitment, and attention to detail. However, your effort is always going to be worth it. Here’s how to make a coffee espresso.

  • Step 1

It’s essential to prep the cup first by warming it before using it. Clean it using hot water so the glass or porcelain won’t decrease the temperature of your drink.

  • Step 2

Inspect the handle of the portafilter and make sure it’s dry and clean. Take note that the previous coffee residue can significantly impact the flavor of the latest shot you are pulling. A wet basket may also affect the extraction since it will moisten the coffee.

  • Step 3

Dose your ground coffee using a portafilter. Keep a close eye on the size of the grind and the dose to ensure that you don’t under-extract or over-extract your shot. Pro tip: under-extracted coffee tastes sour while over-extracted coffee tastes bitter.

  • Step 4

Gently tap the handle of the portafilter on the tamp mat to distribute the ground coffee equally, or you can use a distribution tool if you own one. This step guarantees that your coffee won’t have any air pockets. Air pockets disrupt the equal extraction of every coffee grounds since it allows hot water to channel and pass through different routes instead of evenly spreading it.

  • Step 5

Tamp again to remove any air pockets and make sure that the coffee is entirely level.

  • Step 6

Polish the surface area of the ground coffee using the tamper. To perform this, put the tamper above the puck and allow it to spin. The spinning process will smoothen tiny ridges, securing that the surface of the coffee is entirely flat and smooth.

  • Step 7

Clean and remove excess dry coffee on the top, sprouts, and ears of your portafilter.

  • Step 8

Before you insert the portafilter, rinse the group head first. Cleaning the group head will eliminate any previous coffee residue that came from the shower head. The flavor of the next shot would not be affected by any residual coffee.

  • Step 9

Finally, you’re all set to insert the handle of the portafilter to the group head and begin brewing your very own espresso! Start brewing right away, or the surface of the coffee might burn.

  • Step 10

When the espresso machine stops, get the cup that’s on the machine tray. Your espresso is now ready. You can serve it as is or begin using steamed milk to create a cappuccino or latte. Enjoy!

How Do You Drink an Espresso?

On its own, espresso is generally served and drunk in “shots.” Every shot is equivalent to approximately 1 ounce. There is also what they “doppios,” which refers to a double shot of espresso. Doppios are far more famous compared to single espresso shots. No matter what size you choose, espressos are served in demitasse, which are tiny, usually white, cups you often see in cafes and coffee shops. Each demitasses cups can hold at least 2-4 ounces of espresso.

Furthermore, most coffee shops prefer to sell double shots only if only to maintain quality. However, other coffee shops provide lungos and single espresso shots. Espresso shouldn’t be consumed in one gulp, just like you would typically do in a shot of tequila. Instead, espresso has to be sipped gradually to fully enjoy its full and robust flavor.

What is The Difference Between Regular Coffee and Espresso?

If you ordered a black coffee and are served an espresso shot, chances are you’re a bit disappointed for the misfortune – and vice versa. One cup of coffee is very different from a single shot of espresso. However, what sets these two beverages apart?

Both are drinks are made from coffee beans. Generally, espresso and coffee can use the same kind of beans. In espresso vs coffee, the only difference has everything to do with the manner of preparing them, starting from the beans themselves. The beans that used for espresso are roasted for an extended period compared to those utilized in making coffee. Additionally, espresso beans are also finer ground, almost on the sand side than gravel. Though the kind of beans you use is vital when determining the taste, the significant difference between coffee and espresso lies in how you make your coffee.

Also, coffee and espresso differ in their caffeine content. A standard cup of joe will have more caffeine levels compared to one shot of espresso. Generally, an 8oz serving of coffee has about 850185 mg of caffeine, while a 1oz shot has around 40-75 mg. Though espresso indeed contains higher concentrations of caffeine for every ounce, you still acquire less amount of caffeine by drinking one shot of espresso compared to a cup of coffee.

Lastly, coffee and espresso vary in taste. Many people say that the primary difference between the two can be determined when tasting each drink. Espresso offers a fuller and richer flavor than most consider much stronger than the flavor of coffee. Several espresso enthusiasts claim that the paper filter utilized when brewing coffee takes away some of the characters that the coffee grounds produce, which is the reason behind the significant differences between their taste.

Regular coffee and espresso differ in their caffeine content, taste, and preparation. However, despite these differences, you could still utilize espresso-roasted beans to prepare a coffee and dark roasted coffee beans to create espresso, provided that you ground the roasted beans properly and work with the appropriate tool. So what’s the most suitable gear you should use? It’s pretty obvious. You should utilize an espresso machine.

Is Espresso Stronger than Coffee? How much Caffeine is in Espresso?

One of the most widespread assumptions between coffee and espresso is that the latter is much stronger than regular coffee. The caffeine espresso difference isn’t a surprising myth since espresso shots look like a hardcore beverage. However, when you look at the figures on the amount of caffeine, coffee has much higher compared to espresso. A 2oz doppio has approximately 80 mg of espresso caffeine, while a 12 oz coffee has around 120 mg. This will tell you that brewed coffee contains more caffeine than an espresso. However, this doesn’t look like an equal comparison since they have different volumes. One shot of espresso has approximately 40 mg for every ounce, while coffee only contains 10 mg per ounce. Concentration-wise, you’ll notice that the espresso has more caffeine. The contrast in their serving size clearly states their disparity; less caffeine content in espresso if you consider it on a beverage perspective.

With this, you can safely say that coffee is stronger than espresso – if you look at their caffeine level. However, fast, do you drink a short versus a whole cup of brewed coffee? Generally, you chug espresso quicker. Along the same lines, caffeine is more quickly assimilated when swallowed in concentrated amounts, targeting your central nervous system much more powerful than by quietly sipping a coffee over a specified period.

Conclusion

Espresso can be extremely confusing, especially if you don’t know anything about it. But now that you are entirely aware of its origin, characteristics, and even preparation, ordering one in the coffee shop wouldn’t be as intimidated anymore. And if you are planning to make your espresso at home, you now have a lot of options on how to do it. Drum roll to espresso machines – the perfect equipment to prepare delicious and flavourful espresso in the comfort of your own home. Learn from the steps on how to make an espresso above, as well as other essential information to help you create a full-bodied and delightful beverage. Are you going for a single shot or double shot of espresso? It’s totally up to you. Good luck!

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