- 1 Top 10 Best Espresso Coffees
- 2 Espresso Coffee: What Is It and How Is It Made?
- 3 Coffee Vs. Espresso: What’s The Difference?
- 4 The Anatomy of an Espresso Shot
- 5 Espresso Caffeine Content
- 6 Is Espresso Bad For You?
- 7 Best Coffee Espresso Benefits
- 8 Ordering and Drinking The Best Espresso Coffee The Right Way
- 9 Becoming an Espresso Connoisseur
- 10 Types of Espresso Shots
- 11 Popular Espresso-Based Drinks
- 12 Coffee Beans VS. Espresso Coffee: Is There A Difference?
- 13 Where To Buy?
- 14 How To Properly Store The Best Espresso Coffee?
- 15 Final Thoughts
Espresso coffee is a concentrated coffee brew, brewed by forcing very hot, but not boiling, water under high pressure through coffee that has been ground to a consistency that is between extremely fine and powder.
From ready-to-drink beverages to coffee shops, espresso coffee is taking the world by storm.
In fact, according to recent National Coffee Association report, 24 percent of Americans surveyed had consumed an espresso-based drink within the past days.
Don’t know anything about espresso coffees. Not to worry! We put together a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about espresso and included a list of the best espresso coffee available today!
Top 10 Best Espresso Coffees
- (4) 8 ounce cans of Lavazza Caffe Espresso Italian ground coffee
- Rich bodied dark roast with delicious, fragrant flavor and aromatic notes
- Non GMO, 100 percent Arabica
- Blended and roasted in Italy
- Best used for espresso but also suitable in any coffee maker
- One 2.2 pound bag of Lavazza Super Crema Italian whole coffee beans
- Mild and creamy medium espresso roast with notes of hazelnuts and brown sugar
- Blended and roasted in Italy
- Best used with espresso machine
- Produced in a nut-free facility center, Contains only coffee
Espresso Coffee: What Is It and How Is It Made?
Espresso, pronounced as ess-PRESS-oh, is a concentrated and full-flavored form of coffee usually served in shots. It is the purest distillation of coffee beans and it does not refer to a blend or bean but is actually a preparation method.
Espresso has an Italian origin and was created since coffee shops needed a faster way to serve coffee to their customers.
Before the espresso, making a single cup of coffee takes up to 5 minutes. But with espresso which is an Italian word for “fast”, take only at least 45 seconds.
The best espresso coffee is made by forcing the pressurized hot water all through the very finely ground beans using the best espresso machine.
The result is a stronger-than-coffee liquid topped with crema, which is a brown foam that forms when the air bubbles combine with the soluble oils of the coffee sitting on top of a properly pulled shot of espresso.
This crema adds a rich flavor with the lingering aftertaste of espresso.
Coffee Vs. Espresso: What’s The Difference?
So, what do you think is the difference between espresso and coffee? When it comes down to it, it is the preparation that really sets the two apart. Read Here: Top 10 Best Espresso Coffee Beans
Other methods of coffee brewing take time since they rely on the slow filtering of hot water through the coffee grounds. This means that it can take several minutes between you and a cup of coffee.
Meanwhile, espresso coffee is made with espresso machines that pressurize and then shoot near-boiling water through the fine ground coffee that is packed into cakes.
The method gives you an aromatic, complex, and caffeine-rich shot of coffee in just 30 seconds.
The lever of the best espresso coffee machine is the switch for pure coffee magic. Not only is it a cornerstone for quick brewing, but pressure also helps in developing the crema and dispersing rich coffee oils into the espresso shot.
The filtered coffee then relies on gravity to push the water all through the ground. Most espresso machines have a default of nine bars which is approximately equivalent to 130 psi. Read Here: Top 10 Best Espresso Machines Under $1000
In order to put that figure in perspective, a dive of about 300 feet deep into the ocean can replicate the optimal espresso pressure. That’s a ton of pressure which explains why the best espresso coffee brews are so strong.
The Fine Grounds
The size of the coffee grounds is also crucial. For a regular brew, the coarser coffee grounds strike a balance between releasing the delicious coffee flavor without dissolving or wasting the particles.
And too much saturation in the ground makes your coffee more bitter. However, espresso is different. The properties of coffee cake or coffee bed determine how well the espresso coffee is extracted.
The smaller coffee grind exposes more surface area of the coffee beans to water. This translates to a more efficient brewing through its short infusion process. Read Here: Top 10 Best Electric Coffee Grinders
Obviously, too fine coffee grounds can slow or clog the brew. That is because the coffee bed swells when it is exposed to hot water, thanks to the insoluble sugar-based carbs and pressure that developed during the roast.
So, it is a fine balance between medium and small grounds when you are brewing the best espresso coffee.
The Anatomy of an Espresso Shot
If you have spent time at an espresso bar or an Italian, then you know what an espresso shot is and what it looks like.
Traditionally, an espresso shot is a dark brew served in an unassuming china cup that can fit about 1.6 ounces. When properly served, it is topped with a thick layer of bubbly, brown crema.
This delightful foam is a primary visual indicator of a nicely extracted shot of espresso. When the pressurized water is forced into the coffee cake, these several reactions are thought to happen.
- The exposure to pressure helps degass the coffee beans, allowing the carbon trapped from the roasting process to escape the coffee beans.
- The more delicate oils blend with the water.
- The sudden change from the machine (high-pressure environment) to the cup (low-pressure environment) allows the carbon dioxide to break through the espresso cell walls and create bubbles.
- Bicarbonate ions in the water are subjected to a chemical reaction from the quick exposure and evolving pH of the coffee cake.
All these forces come together in order to create the top layer of the best espresso coffee shot. In general, the cream can hang around for at least 40 minutes, assuming that your espresso coffee lasts that long. Espresso is, after all, made for the express drinking of your beverage.
When properly brewed, the best espresso coffee under the crema will have a rich and unique taste with the aromatic scent and velvety mouthfeel.
The shorter period of water exposure actually draws out less acid than the other brewing methods while maintaining 60 – 70 percent of the caffeine in the final cup.
So, even though the best espresso coffee takes only 30 seconds to brew, it can still provide a huge amount of caffeine. Not only that, but the brewing process also preserves more aromatic and volatile coffee oils that you will not find in a regular cup of joe.
Espresso Caffeine Content
Speaking of caffeine content, just how much caffeine is in a single espresso shot? Espresso has 29mg – 100mg of caffeine in a single shot and often hovers around 75mg.
Meanwhile, a double shot of espresso has about 58mg – 185mg of caffeine. For comparison, a single cup of drip coffee has at least 80mg – 200mg of caffeine depending on the brew and variety.
And since this beverage is usually served in smaller servings than your regular coffee, you are actually getting less caffeine than the morning drip-brew.
Is Espresso Bad For You?
Although one double shot of espresso is not going to severely impact your health, chugging 5 – 7 shots of espresso can.
Caffeine is notorious for causing insomnia as well as increasing your anxiety symptoms. In addition, excessive caffeine can actually lead to high blood pressure.
Best Coffee Espresso Benefits
Like black coffee, espresso actually has a lot more health benefits than negative impacts. At a basic level, the best espresso coffee is low in calories and high in antioxidants, presenting some wonderful benefits.
Drinking the right amount of caffeine can actually enhance your long-term memory. And that espresso shot is totally worth it.
A study revealed that drinking about 2 cups of espresso can help improve the memory merging process. The process, in turn, can enhance your long-term memory.
However, if you wish to see the results, then you need to stick to the recommended amount of espresso shot. This is because they are no benefits for those consumed less or more.
Studies have revealed that the right caffeine amount can help improve your cell functionality and acting as a preventive measure against heart disease.
As a matter of fact, a study revealed that regular coffee drinkers can be at least 19 percent less likely to die from heart diseases.
Concentration and Brain Health
Caffeine is notorious for its benefits in improving attention and alertness while also reducing fatigue. It is believed that neuro-chemical interaction is the one responsible for these benefits.
Not only that, but drinking the best espresso coffee can also help in reducing your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Several studies about caffeine consumption and brain health conclude that regular, but moderate espresso or coffee intake helps reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Espresso coffee is low in calories when compared to the other kinds of coffee that you will find in coffee shops. If you don’t add sugar or cream to your beverage, It can only have at least 3 calories per ounce.
Other than being low in calories, caffeine can also help in improving your workout performance. Caffeine can make exercising appear less tedious by reducing the apparent exertion level by up to 5 percent.
Not only that, but coffee can also help reduce the level of muscle pain you feel during work out. Taking about 2 – 3 coffee cups before working out helps reduce muscle pain and allows you to push yourself harder.
Several studies have revealed that regular caffeine consumption can help in reducing the risk of liver cirrhosis, a disease that is often caused by heavy alcohol use.
A Swedish study revealed that taking at least 1 – 2 cup/s of coffee daily can help reduce your risk of experiencing a stroke by 25 percent. The result is mainly attributed to the antioxidant properties of coffee.
Meanwhile, a different study conducted on male smokers shows that their risk of suffering stroke was greatly reduced by 21 percent when they drank about 8 cups of coffee daily.
Researchers found out that consuming more caffeine is associated with a lower risk of type II diabetes.
The conclusion of the study was that those who had more than a cup of coffee daily reduced their risk of getting type II diabetes by 11 percent.
Ordering and Drinking The Best Espresso Coffee The Right Way
Let us start with ordering.
If you ask for an espresso in cafes, you are actually going to be served a doppio or a double shot by default. However, some coffee shops will ask if you want a double or single.
If it is the only coffee that you are drinking today, then you can go with a double. Regardless of which you choose, your espresso coffee should be served in a ceramic demitasse cup.
In addition, it can be served with water. The purpose of this water is cleansing your pallet for the richness of espresso you are about to drink.
Now, let’s move on to the crema.
With crema, you have various options here. Some people choose to skim the foam off in order to avoid its acidic flavor, while others choose to stir it in before they drink it.
Speaking of stirring, you also need to that the right way. The syrupy, thicker bits will usually sink to the bottom and leaving brighter and lighter flavors up top. Thus, if you wish for a more balanced cup, then you need to give it a nice, gentle stirring.
Not, it is finally time to drink it. The most important thing is to not take your espresso coffee like a shot of alcohol. Instead, you need to sip your expresso slowly. Pay attention to the aroma, flavor profile, and the aftertaste, making sure that you are getting the most out of the experience.
Becoming an Espresso Connoisseur
If you are really interested in the flavors and culture of espresso, then there is no substitute for an experienced barista who knows what they are doing.
Brewing the best espresso coffee is much like art as it is a science. Even with the espresso machines which accurately appear pressure to the perfectly heated water.
Aside from the straight shot, there are also a number of coffee styles you can rely on the addition of espresso.
Types of Espresso Shots
In addition, the regular espresso coffee shot, baristas throughout the 20th century developed other and more caffeinated ways to enjoy your espresso shot. These include:
No, it is not a triple shot as you might think when you first hear the name. Ristretto is made up of concentrated espresso weighing just under 1 ounce.
This is basically a double shot espresso containing 2 ounces or 60ml of espresso.
Just like doppio, lungo contains 2oz espresso, however, it is much more concentrated.
- Café Noisette
A type of double shot, café noisette is a blend of 2oz espresso and 1oz steamed milk.
The classic version of macchiato is 2 ounces of espresso with a dash of foamed milk.
Popular Espresso-Based Drinks
Outside of the espresso shots, you also need to familiarize yourself with the creative beverages and drinks that are based on espresso.
Cappuccino is 2 ounces of espresso topped with another 2oz steamed milk and then finished with 2oz foamed milk.
- Drip coffee
This is 2oz espresso mixed with 3oz hot water.
- Dry Cappuccino
Just like regular cappuccino, the dry version has equal parts of foamed milk and espresso and leaving off the steamed milk at the end.
Creamy and rich, the breve is a blend of 2 shots of espresso then 3 shots of half-and-half.
Affogato is more like a dessert treat than an energizing morning drink. It is made with 2oz espresso and 3oz vanilla ice cream.
- Café Con Hielo
The Café Con Hielo is an iced version of espresso. It is simply 50ml espresso served over ice.
The perfect beverage for chocolate craving, mocha is 60ml espresso, 30ml steamed milk, and 50ml chocolate.
Another favorite, a latte is a blend of 2oz espresso and 10oz steamed milk. IT is then topped with the tiniest hint of foamed milk.
- Flat White
Suitable for those who don’t like the strong coffee flavor, the flat white is 2oz espresso and 4oz steamed milk.
- Con Panna
Another type of dessert espresso, the con Panna is made with 2oz espresso topped with 3oz whipped cream.
Coffee Beans VS. Espresso Coffee: Is There A Difference?
Let’s clear up something.
The same coffee beans are used to make both regular coffee and espresso coffee. The only difference is that the espresso beans are roasted longer and/or at a much higher temperature than the regular coffee beans.
Espresso roasts are blend which is carefully selected by experts for a unique and specific taste profile. Espresso blends may contain coffee beans of various varieties, have been roasted to various degrees, and come from various countries of origin.
Factors That Affect The Flavor Profile of An Espresso Coffee
As you probably know by now, espresso is a highly concentrated drink with its flavor and taste profile being its main feature. As a matter of fact, the flavor and taste of espresso are so important that it is often taste-tested like wine.
The taste and flavor of espresso are influenced by several factors, one of which is coffee beans.
Country of Origin
The special characteristics and environment of the area in which the coffee beans are grown has a significant effect on the taste and flavor of your espresso.
In simpler terms, the taste of coffee depends on the:
- Nearby bodies of water or forest
- Average temperature
These factors are unique to particular regions in particular countries.
As a rule, the best espresso coffee is made using the premium arabica coffee beans. The basic rules for creating the best espresso coffee blend as follows:
- Muffled acidity
- Sweet enough to balanced acidity and bitterness
It’s not necessary to only use the espresso roast beans. The espresso blends may contain beans with various roasting degrees. The beans may be:
- Black with a very oily appearance
- The color of dark chocolate with a bit of oily sheen
- The color of milky chocolate
Like any other coffee, it’s always best that you use the best espresso coffee blends within 2 weeks of when they are roasted.
Also, take note that the carbon dioxide stored in the coffee beans for the first day or 2 after roasting can also interfere with the proper extraction of espresso. Thus, most baristas will give the coffee beans a rest of 48 hours before making espresso coffee with them.
The majority of coffee machine manufacturers don’t recommend buying ready-made ground coffee. And we always suggest that you grind your coffee beans yourself.
Because only freshly ground coffee beans from a properly formulated blend can give espresso coffee its unforgettable taste and distinctive crema.
Where To Buy?
So, now that you know how to buy the best coffee beans for espresso coffee, where can you buy one? Because espresso really pulls out the flavor from the coffee beans, finding only the best quality and roast is your only option.
Ditch the coffee beans sitting for months in your local supermarket. We recommend buying coffee beans from a specialty grocer or your local coffee shop.
Choose an establishment with well-trained baristas and offering fresh, high-quality coffee beans for espresso.
How To Properly Store The Best Espresso Coffee?
So, now that you have the best espresso coffee, how do you store it properly to ensure that it stays fresh for days. Store the coffee beans in an opaque, thick, and airtight container in a dark, cool place.
Do not try to put your coffee beans in the freezer or fridge unless you are planning to store the whole bag.
Removing the coffee beans from the fridge or freezer in order to use them time and time again actually introduces moisture inside, sucking out their unique taste and flavor.
If your coffee beans came in a resealable and thick foil bag with a valve, then you can keep them stores in its original packaging. Also, once opened, you need to use your coffee beans within 1 – 2 weeks, if possible.
By now, you should have enough knowledge about the best espresso coffee. With this knowledge, you are ready to dive into the wonderful and rich varieties of this specialty brew.
Go out and try to explore your local espresso offering. And if you are lucky, you will be able to find an Italian espresso bar near you.
But, if you are ready for some experimenting on your own, then you can always make the strong and great-tasting espresso shot from the comforts of your own home with the best espresso coffee mentioned above.