From Academic Kids

L'Espresso [1] ( is the name of an Italian magazine.

Espresso is a strong, flavorful coffee beverage brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground roasted coffee beans. In Italian, espresso means "to press", and refers to the pressure applied to the water as it is forced through the grinds. The spelling "expresso" seen occasionally, is not correct.

Espresso appears dark brown with a gold-colored foam on top, and is often served in small portions.
Espresso appears dark brown with a gold-colored foam on top, and is often served in small portions.

Espresso differs greatly from the common drip brewed coffee drink in its thick concentrated consistency, and robust flavor. Due to its potency, straight espresso (espresso served without sweetener or milk, analogous to black coffee) is considered by some to be an acquired taste, and is served in small amounts called shots. Many coffee aficionados order their single or double with a little glass of cold water to clear the palate. Because the espresso reacts quickly with oxygen, it should be consumed right after brewing.

Espresso is considered the default coffee in Italy, therefore ordering a coffee (un caff) means ordering an espresso: this confuses foreigners in Italy and Italians abroad alike. What is considered plain "coffee" in the States, is known in Italy as "caff americano", and is rarely ordered by Italians.

Espresso is often used as the foundation for other drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and many more. A key component in the flavor of espresso is a golden foam composed of oils, proteins, and sugars, called crema which floats on the surface.



  • Lungo (long): more water (about double) is let through the ground coffee, giving a weaker taste. It is still definitely stronger than normal coffee outside Italy.
  • Ristretto (restricted): less water, yielding a stronger taste.
  • Doppio (double): simply two espressos in one cup. In Italy, barmen that serve a lungo when ordered a doppio to save on coffee are frowned upon.
  • Corretto (corrected): with some sort of liquor.
  • Americano (American): diluted with hot water.
  • Caff Macchiato (stained): with a drop of steamed milk
  • Con panna (with cream): with cream on top
  • Affogato: Served over icecream

Espresso beans

Espresso is usually derived from a certain type of coffee bean; Coffea arabica, commonly known as Arabica, but the other variety, Robusta, is also used in some espresso blends. Arabica trees require more care in growing, and are therefore more expensive. Arabica beans are considered to be superior to the more common Coffea canephora (Robusta) beans, which are typically used for filler in commercial drip brew coffee. The roast of the beans varies from dark to light, depending on the desired taste. For making espresso, the beans are ground finely, unlike coarser drip-style grounds. The grind is achieved using a burr grinder, a type of grinder that uses two flat or conical burrs to grind the coffee to a fine even powder without heating it. However the beans are not ground very finely as in Turkish coffee, otherwise the powder will block coffee flow and prevent crema formation.

Brewing process

Missing image
A personal espresso machine

The process of making espresso is virtually an art form, and people who have mastered their technique are referred to as baristas, masters of many nuances which can be altered to affect the final product. High quality espresso machines can be too expensive for most people.

The act of producing a shot of espresso is colloquially termed "pulling" a shot. The term derives from older machines which required pulling a long handle to produce a shot. To pull a single shot of espresso, a metal filter known as a portafilter basket is filled with approximately 6.5g of properly ground coffee beans roasted for espresso. The espresso is then tamped, or compressed with approximately 30 lbs of force into a densely packed puck of espresso. The portafilter (or group handle) is finally inserted up into the grouphead on the espresso machine and locked into place. When the machine is turned on, a pressurized stream of hot water at 90 +/- 5 C (200 +/- 5 F) and approximately 9 bar is forced through the group head and through the portafilter and into the shot glass to observe the shot and judge its quality. Water cooler than the ideal temperature zone causes sourness; hotter than the ideal zone causes bitterness. High quality espresso machines are designed to carefully control the tempurature of the brewhead to within a few degrees (or less!) of the ideal.

Some individuals (and even accomplished baristas) prefer to pour right into a pre-warmed demitasse, a small cup used for espresso. This is because the heart and body of the shot will mix between 10-15 seconds after pulling the shot, resulting in a bitter flavor. Time is a critical element in pulling a decent shot. The ideal shot will be produced with 30 +/- 5 seconds of extraction with a molasses-like flow that indicates the perfect shot. Varying the fineness of the grind, the amount of pressure used to tamp the grinds, and the pressure of the espresso machine itself can be used to bring the extraction time into this ideal zone.

Espresso was invented in Italy where it is said that four Ms are key to a good espresso: miscela (blend), macinazione (grind), macchina (machine), and mano (hand).

Moka coffee

Sometimes misnamed "espresso", very strong coffee may also be brewed on a stove in a three chambered metal pot, known as a moka, machinetta or percolator. The bottom chamber contains the water, the middle chamber the ground coffee beans and the top chamber holds the resulting coffee. When the pot is heated on a stove, the pressure from the steam in the bottom pot causes the water to be forced up through a tube in the center, pushed through the ground coffee, and finally collected in the top pot. However, this process does not produce the sufficient pressure required to make a true espresso, resulting in none of the characteristic taste, and a lack of crema.

See also

External links

cs:Espresso da:Espresso de:Espresso fr:Expresso is:Espresso no:Espresso nl:Espresso ja:エスプレッソ sv:Espresso


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