The espresso is actually a drink that is mostly consumed and misunderstood although we are avid consumers we could not come up with a clear response when asked what espresso refers to. This is more so because it’s simpler to talk about the drink than what it really is. Sadly the meaning of espresso is not really known however experts agree on some elements as there are no clear guidelines thus no explicit menus for the preparation of this drink. The truth is that there lacks a universal reference as Portland’s Matt Lounsbury as well the Stumpton Coffee Roasters.
Most of the people agree that espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage that is normally thick and has a dense top layer. It is made from coffee with a machine that forces hot water through finely ground coffee packs for some time at high pressure. Espresso is the cover term that is used to describe this coffee making process. This type of coffee gained popularity in the US among Italian immigrants but was not really adapted till the emergence of the Starbucks. It has from then become something between an art and a craving forming the third coffee wave propelled by the emergence of roasters such as Intelligentsia of Chicago, Slumpton from Portland, the Blue Bottle from Oakland as well as Gimme from New York.
Espresso is not a bean as Kyle Glanville of Chicago’s Intelligentsia coffee roaster and retailer notes that people are not certain about what espresso is and gives gratitude to the emergence of espresso products such as the chocolate coated espresso beans but still coffee is coffee. Any bean type can make espresso the reason being that we think of it as getting the specific roast requirement that was initially obtained in the US originated from south Italy where dark roast coffee is preferred. Coffee makers have used dark roast coffee beans since then labeling specific dark roast as espresso beans. Espresso can also be made using different roast levels using any bean type. The traditional extremely dark roast is not common among top coffee roasters and baristas in America.
Espresso is not concentrated coffee. Making coffee using the moka pot or the recent AeroPress produces stronger coffee as compared to making it using drip method, pourover as well as the French press which all use the concept of pressure. The moka pot is at times referred to as the stovetop espresso maker. Lounsbury however argues that the AeroPress and moka pot nears the espresso profile and adds that they still differ as the mechanical aspect is what produces unique espresso.
Glanville says that the moka pot is not espresso and that it also not similar to espresso. It is less concentrated as compared to espresso. He also added the moka pot cannot produce the dense foam as espresso when water under pressure is allowed through the coffee.
The aspects that make espresso have not been clearly defined by the top American roasters but the requirements such as temperature, bean choice, time as well as pressure agree with the barista. In Stumptown’s case roasters, restaurants and coffee shops have to take sometime with Stumptown to be able to learn to make standard coffee so that Stumptown agrees to become a supplier. Matt also told me that according to Stumpton’s view, espresso is using pressure of nine bars and a highly labeled equipment to force water through 24 to 27 grams of coffee to produce a concentrated drink with a good taste.
These are Stumptown’s specific guidelines though they are not quite clear about what espresso is and is not. This is because they is no clarity about what espresso is as well as what makes good espresso. I asked Matt about home espresso makers which are cheaper whether they produce real espresso. He said it’s a challenging issue as it’s hard to clearly tell what espresso is, but others that i spoke to said that every espresso makers that are less than $1,000 can’t produce adequate pressure, temperature consistency as well as power as compared to the commercial espresso makers though some said the homemakers were up to the standards. Kyle of the Intelligentsia says that few people can be able to use the home espresso coffee maker although he doesn’t own one. He also added that this requires patience and finances as well. Geoff Watts who is Kyle’s colleague praised Stumptown’s view on espresso but also noted that it is consumed more than drip or press coffee. He added that it is a different coffee experience as compared to taking drip coffee in small quantities over a small time frame. He said that it’s also stronger where a shot of espresso has little caffeine as compared to a small coffee cup.
Lastly, espresso is not a word and its use will put you in trouble especially at the hands of a barista. You should be cautious they may be stronger than they seem.