November 23rd is National Espresso Day! Celebrate National Espresso day with a shot of espresso to perk up your day!
How to celebrate National Espresso Day
If you have a espresso machine, your all set. Brew up a nice cup of espresso and enjoy a rich coffee blend of your choice. If you don't have an espresso machine, run down to your local coffee shop and ask for a "Single Shot of Espresso." While making casual conversation with those at the coffee shop, enjoy your espresso at our leisure.
We have included this flow chart to help you follow this process:
- A 60-ml shot of espresso has about the same caffeine as a 180-ml (6 fluid ounces) cup of drip coffee.
- The serving temperature for espresso is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The ideal brewing time for one shot of espresso is 25 to 30 seconds
- Any type of coffee roast can be used to make espresso. The grind size and preparation are what makes it an espresso.
The Origins of Espresso
Espresso made its debut in Italy in the early 20th century although coffee was already very much a part of Italian life for centuries. Espresso lovers owe their thanks for the tasty brew to Italy’s Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing plant who wanted to speed up the time it took to make coffee. It’s unclear whether he was motivated to hasten the process by frustration over how long his morning coffee took or whether he wanted to speed up the time his employees took for their coffee breaks.
Regardless, Bezzera discovered that adding steam pressure to the process produced a stronger, more robust cup of coffee. This machine used in this new quick-brew process was named the Fast Coffee Machine. The beverage produced by the machine would eventually become known as espresso, which means fast in Italian. Regrettably, Bezzera wasn’t as talented at marketing and sales as he was at engineering. A few years later in 1905, Desidero Pavoni purchased the rights to the machine from Bezzera and had it patented. It is due to Pavoni’s marketing genius that espresso grew in popularity.
In the early 1940s, Achille Gaggia created a piston-based espresso machine that improved the taste by eliminating the burnt flavor and giving espresso a thicker consistency. Initially for professional use in coffee bars, the espresso machine gradually became available for use at home.
Anatomy of Espresso
Contrary to popular belief, espresso is not a specific bean or roast level. Any bean or roast level can be used to make espresso. What makes espresso espresso is its brewing method, which is made by forcing pressurized hot water through finely ground coffee to create a concentrated coffee topped with a delicate foam, called a crema.
The crema should be thin and foamy with a golden-brown and sometimes slightly reddish color. The crema has a sweet flavor as it contains the espresso’s concentrated sugars and oils. The body is the middle layer and it is typically caramel-brown in color. The bottom of an espresso, known as the heart, should have a deep brown tone. The heart contains the bitterness that provides a balance to the sweetness of the crema.
While there is no universal standard in how to make the perfect espresso, it is often thought that the quality of the ultimate espresso comes from the four "M's"
- Macinazione – correct grinding of the coffee bean
- Macchina – the espresso machine
- Miscela – the coffee blend
- Mano – the skilled hand of the person making the coffee
Espresso How To's
There are some rituals around drinking espresso. For starters, it’s important to use the right espresso cup. The maximum capacity should be two ounces or 60 ml. Make sure that it is filled only two-thirds of the way. If the cup is too large the espresso will cool down too quickly. The cup should be made of thick porcelain and it is recommended to preheat the cup before adding the espresso.
A good espresso should be able to hold a sprinkling of sugar on top of the crema for 30 seconds before sinking.