What Is This Thing Called Espresso?

Over the years, espresso coffee has gained considerable ground in popularity. In the United States alone, the consumption of espresso has inspired entrepreneurs to set up coffee carts that specialize in the selling of espresso coffee. You can find these shops in bookstores, supermarkets, cinemas, Laundromats, drive-thrus, gas stations, hospitals, practically anywhere, including public parks and of course cafes and restaurants. In Seattle alone, there may be an espresso shopsery two blocks. They are almost as prevalent as the hotdog carts in New York.

As the name would suggest, espresso coffee is a quick way of brewing the drink. It is different from other types of coffee preparation in that to make an espresso, you have to extract coffee flavor from the coffee beans by subjecting them into the high-pressure steam of today’s espresso machines.

When you order an espresso coffee, you will be served a one- or two-ounce shot of very strong coffee.
There are several factors that go into making a good espresso coffee.

The Roast —┬áthe beans are roasted dark until they appear oily. Espresso beans are often a selection of different coffee beans grown around the world in the various coffee-growing regions.

The Grind —┬áThe grind quality must quite fine, finer even than the consistency of granulated sugar. The finer the grind of the coffee beans, the slower the coffee comes out of the espresso machine and the better shot of espresso it will produce.

Getting into Hot Water

As with all preparation of good coffee, temperature must be controlled so that the grounds are not subjected to excessive boiling. The heat that must be applied should be enough to extract from the coffee beans the flavor oils. The steam coming out of the espresso machine that shoots through the packed espresso grounds is obviously at the boiling point.

Timing is Everything

The best espressos are brewed for about 20 seconds, but times may vary based on the espresso machine. The 20 seconds is about the standard time for two ounces of hot water to pass through the tightly packed grounds in the espresso machine.


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