When you think of coffee, what comes to mind? A cup of joe in the morning to start your day off right? The perfect cappuccino after a hearty meal? That steaming latte that puts the cherry on top.
We all know that coffee is delicious and an integral part of our culture. But what about espresso? What would it be without its signature drink – Espresso Coffee!
Espresso Coffee has grown in popularity over the last decade, becoming one of the most popular beverages worldwide.
Now there are so many ways to make it! You can use an espresso machine or not – but either way, here’s how you can make a perfect shot every time. Follow this guide for some pointers on making the perfect cup of espresso!
1. What is Espresso Coffee ?
Espresso coffee is not just any shot of coffee, but rather a “pressed” or “extracted” shot that originates from Italy.
It is made with about 1-2 ounces of hot water, brewed under 9 bars of pressure with finely ground and tamped coffee beans. There are many different methods to make this beverage, as it has become a staple of the coffee culture.
2. How to make a perfect espresso shot:
Making a perfect espresso shot is complicated and takes practice! Practice makes perfect, after all. Here are some tips to help get you started:
– Grind your coffee beans yourself. The right grind size isn’t too fine, but not too coarse either. A burr grinder or hand mill will do the trick nicely. – Use fresh roasted coffee beans.
Make sure to use beans with a darker roast for maximum flavor – do not make the mistake of using beans with too light of a roast, or you will end up with an acidic espresso that tastes bitter and burnt.
– Keep your coffee container properly sealed. Always keep your container of coffee beans in an airtight container away from moisture, heat, and light. Buy fresh roasted coffee beans weekly to ensure the best taste. – Use filtered or purified water for your water source.
Tap water usually has chlorine that can negatively affect the flavor of your espresso shot. If you do not have access to purified water, consider using bottled spring water instead (most grocery stores sell it!).
– Make sure to tamp your coffee beans down. Tamping helps to keep the grounds in a uniformed shape, ensuring that they produce even extraction.
– Preheat everything! This means the carafe you’re going to use for “pulling” your shot, as well as your cup if you’re going to decant it into one.
You should also preheat your machine! – Pull a small amount of hot water through the filter first, just to get it wet. This helps heat up everything and removes any loose grounds from the filter that could cause a mess.
– Keep the proper coffee/water ratio. The perfect shot of espresso should have about 1 ounce or 2 ounces of liquid. This can be adjusted depending on your preference. Some people like to add more water for a cappuccino-style beverage, while others prefer it stronger and thicker!
3. The different types of espresso shots and how they are made:
Now that you know how to make espresso, lets take a look at the different types of coffee drinks made with espresso shots.
Most are served in latte glasses or demitasse cups. It’s up to you whether you would like your shot straight up (no decaf), with steamed milk, frothed milk, or topped with whipped cream!
– Americano: A shot of espresso served with hot water in a 1:1 ratio. The name comes from the idea that this beverage is popular in America, but it originated in Italy.
– Black Eye: An espresso shot with a small amount of foamed milk added to the top. Also known as a “flat white”.
– Blonde: A shot of espresso with steamed milk, similar to a latte. The milk is usually steamed without any foam/froth.
– Cappuccino: An espresso shot served in a 1:1 ratio with foamed milk on top. Served in a latte glass or cup, sometimes with chocolate or cinnamon on top.
– Caramel Macchiato: An espresso shot with steamed milk, but this time it’s topped off with caramel syrup and a bit of foam to create the “macchiato” layer.
– Caramel Flan Latte: A shot of espresso served in a 1:1 ratio with steamed milk and caramel syrup on top.
– Caramel Latte: A shot of espresso with a bit of steamed milk and caramel syrup on top. Usually topped with foam or whip cream!
– Dirty Chai Latte: A chai latte made with an espresso machine, spiced with some added mocha syrup.
– Dirty Chai: A chai latte made with an espresso machine, spiced with some added mocha syrup.
– Espresso Romano: A shot of espresso served with a twist of lemon peel. Popular in Italy and often times mistaken for a cappuccino because of the shape/size of the cup it is served in.
– Flat White: An espresso shot with steamed milk, similar to a latte. The milk is usually steamed without any foam/froth, and it is a popular beverage in Australia!
– Highlander Grogg: A mixture of coffee and tea mixed with spices, honey, cream, and sometimes whiskey. It was originally a Scottish drink.
– Irish Coffee: An espresso shot with some hot water and whiskey added, on top of sugar and cream. It has also been topped with whipped cream and/or nutmeg.
– Latte: A shot of espresso with steamed milk and foam on top (this can be foamed using an espresso machine steam wand, or with the help of some good old fashioned elbow grease).
– Latte Macchiato: A latte with a bit of foam/froth “marked” on top of the drink. This is done by pouring steamed milk into an espresso shot and stopping when it reaches the layer you’d like to mark.
– Macchiato: A shot of espresso with a bit of foam/froth on top. It is usually smaller, but it can be served in the same size cup as an Americano or cappuccino if you’d like!
– Mocha: A popular combination drink made by mixing steamed milk with chocolate syrup and an espresso shot. Served in a latte glass or cup.
– Mochaccino: A mocha with a bit of foam/froth on top, sometimes topped with chocolate sprinkles!
– Piccolo Latte: A small latte – a shot of espresso served in an 8 oz cup with steamed milk and foam on top.
– Spicy Chai: A chai latte made with an espresso machine, spiced with some added spicy chocolate syrup.
– White Mocha: A mocha made with white chocolate instead of regular chocolate. It’s great for people who would like a sweeter mocha!
4. Tips for making the perfect cup of coffee – including the best beans, grinds, and brewing methods
– can be found by scrolling to the bottom of this article!
There are literally hundreds of ways you can make espresso and coffee at home, but one thing remains: the perfect shot of espresso is something that everyone should try once in their lives.
It’s so popular that there are many different ways to make it, but what would espresso be without its signature drink? Here is a guide to making the perfect espresso coffee, whether you’re using an espresso machine or not.
– The beans: Make sure that the beans are stored properly and they’re ground just before use. They shouldn’t be stored in places where there’s sunlight or high temperatures, and coffee beans lose their flavor after about three months.
– The grind: Espresso beans should be ground into a fine powder that resembles table salt, using either an automatic or manual grinder. Pre-ground coffee usually doesn’t taste as good!
– The ratio: For every two ounces of water, you should use one ounce (or 28 grams) of finely ground espresso coffee.
– The equipment: A stovetop espresso maker is great for making espresso that’s on the stronger side. If you don’t have one of these, you can always try using an automatic or manual pump espresso machine.
– Brewing time: Espresso shouldn’t be brewed for longer than 20 seconds at a time, and what distinguishes it from regular brewed coffee is that it’s much faster and more intense.
– Tamping: Before you brew the espresso, make sure to tamp (press firmly) the grounds into a little cup or portafilter basket. It will help keep your shot of espresso from overflowing and give it a better taste!
– Making multiple shots: After you’ve brewed the first shot, you can immediately make another one, but don’t make a third or fourth shot after that. If you do, the coffee will be flat and won’t taste as good.
– Temperature: Espresso should be served at a temperature of around 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius) to avoid burning your mouth on it!
– Milk: Many people will say that milk isn’t supposed to be added to espresso, but if you ask Italians how they drink theirs, they usually add steamed milk.
– Drink size: An Americano is simply a shot of espresso with water added to it. A cappuccino is traditionally made by adding hot milk/foam to espresso and topping it with a little cocoa powder or cinnamon, or both! And of course, feel free to add flavored syrups to any coffee drink you’d like.
– Steamed milk: This is great for cappuccinos and lattes (two types of coffee drinks) and can be made either with an automatic frother (also known as a steamer) or by manually heating the milk/foam in a pan.
– What you need: If you’re making multiple shots, having one of these is helpful! It’s an espresso measuring spoon that can hold exactly 28 grams of coffee grounds for each shot.
– The perfect cup: Making the perfect espresso will take time, but once you’ve got it down, this is the perfect cup of coffee!
– The milk: Pour about one ounce (30 milliliters) of milk into a shot glass.
– The espresso: Add two shots of espresso to an empty cup.
Source image: Natanja Grün | unsplash.com