What is an Espresso?

What is an Espresso?

Many would ask what is Espresso all about? According to this blog, Espresso came from Italy. It’s a brewing process created by forcing hot water under pressure by finely-ground coffee beans. Compared to the other coffee brewed, this method is thicker with a high concentration of suspended and dissolved solids.

The main character of Espresso that you can’t find with any other coffee brewed is that they have foam on top or also known as crema. The reason behind it is that the products came from a pressurized brewing method. The chemicals and flavors are all concentrated. Because of the brewing method, it is known that Espresso consists of more caffeine when compared to other coffee drinks. 

Espresso is also an important base for other coffee beverages like Caffe macchiato, Caffe latte, Caffe mocha, cappuccino, Caffe Americano, and flat white. It is usually served in a smaller brew vessel called demitasse. It makes the brew less than the caffeine content when poured already in a standard cup. One-shot will contain 120 mg to 170 mg of caffeine. It’s less than the 150 mg to 200 mg caffeine content from a cup of drip coffee.

To brew and create a coffee espresso, very hot water is needed and forced by finely ground coffee. It is tamped down for the hot water to penetrate evenly. As a result, it became a syrupy beverage because of the extraction of solid components from the ground coffee. While the foam or cream of the Espresso is a product of the emulsification of oils in the grounds into one colloid, this process doesn’t happen with other brewing methods.

You also need an espresso machine to brew an espresso. If you are preparing it, you are usually “pulling a shot.” It’s a term used because you are about to pull down the lever of the espresso machine. It’s a handle attached to the spring piston that forces hot water into coffee grounds using high pressure. Today, new and advanced espresso machines use pressure generated from an electric pump.

Most espresso machines consist of 9 atmospheres of pressure. It is equivalent to 130 lbs per square inch of pressure. It’s an exact amount of pressure to allow it to be quickly brewed.

The size of coffee grounds is also important in the brewing process of the brew. A regular brew has a coarser grind to strike the balance of the caffeine when it comes to flavors, aroma, and others. It requires a finer coffee grounds which exposes more of the coffee bean area to water. It will result in a highly efficient brewing method, even with a short infusion method.

From the Italians: What is Espresso?

Espresso is considered an intense type of coffee that is loved by many Europeans, especially Italians. Some Americans are scared to try the espresso mixes because of the bold flavor and taste. It is usually served in a small style container and must be consumed right away after being extracted.

If you are not from Italy, you might wonder how to drink it the right way. If you try to observe Italians, they mostly enjoy their cup of Espresso in many cafes of Rome and Venice. You will notice too that they have a secret way to drink this beverage properly. 

For Italians, preparing this drink is an art. The key factors to think about while sipping an espresso are aroma, taste, and colors. The best place for them to enjoy it is in a coffee bar, but most of the Italian kitchen knows how to prepare it.

Choosing from the many varieties of coffee is hard, especially if you are not an expert on it. Here are some good tips for sipping the best coffee there is, especially an espresso if you are in Italy or wherever it might be. If you enter a cafe bar, never ask for an espresso. You simply say, ‘I would like a coffee’ because Italians already assumed that the ‘traditional’ coffee means one Espresso. 

Remember that great coffee always depends on the perfect mixture. And when they say perfect, it’s a mix of quality blends, water quality, degree of humidity, and outdoor temperature. It’s about balance. Even the foam you put in it can be an indicator if you will enjoy a great-tasting coffee prepared to perfection.

Is Espresso good for health?

If you’re among those people who can’t go anywhere without their morning caffeine, don’t feel guilty about it. Your caffeine addiction might be doing something great to yourself without you knowing it. 

Espresso has antioxidants that help to enhance your health and boost your immune system. The presence of antioxidants helps to decrease the risk of developing heart diseases and liver cirrhosis. 

Espresso helps in improving memory. According to neuroscientist research from the University of California, the consumption of two shots can boost the memory consolidation process. This leads to the improvement of long-term memory. The thermogenic effect of coffee or your daily espresso shots can burn calories of about 80 to 150 per day. These are just a few of the many health benefits of caffeine.  

Espresso enhances attention. This is the most popular benefit of coffee. With many people relying on multiple cups of caffeine to stay awake is the proof. For them, it can improve their concentration levels. It’s their quick fire-way to get out of their morning slumber and start their day feeling active and alert.

How is it Different from Other Coffee Drinks?

Here’s a simple rule to always keep in mind:

  1. Espresso is also a coffee beverage.
  2. An espresso is a brewing method.
  3. Espresso coffee is not a specific bean blend.
  4. Any kind of coffee bean roasting at any level may be used to brew pure and authentic Espresso.

Some people think that it is a dark roast coffee with a bitter flavor. That’s entirely wrong. Espresso brew is not a roast. It is a method or a process of preparing good coffee. It is blended from different varieties of coffee roasts, forming a pure bold and not bitter flavor. 

Some espressos turn out to be bitter. But you can’t blame it on the method itself. It is the brewer or coffee shop’s responsibility because they use over-roasted or burned coffee beans. Even with other coffee brewing, they will taste bitter if you burn the beans. 

Espresso produces an amazing coffee flavor. A one-ounce shot is already packed with full flavors of a cup of coffee. If it is your first time to drink Espresso, your taste buds might get overwhelmed because of the rich flavors. By that time you enjoy your Espresso, that only means you already drink several times of it.

What is the difference between Espresso and regular coffee?

The key to a perfect espresso brew is the pressure you put in it. It’s the pressure that helps in the development of the crema or foam.

Espresso is not that popular in the US as compared to most places in Europe. There’s a lot of difference as to how their Espresso tastes like. Some are rejecting it because they believe that it will only give them a bitter taste. But it is not as bitter as regular brewed coffee. If you only use the most applicable and reliable equipment, fresh beans with a skilled and talented barista, you will enjoy a smooth and satisfying drink like cappuccino.

Is Espresso stronger than coffee?

A lot of coffee lovers would say that straight Espresso can be strong and bitter sometimes. It will take a lot of practice before one person can create and develop the perfect taste of the straight espresso shots.

A perfect-brewed espresso must be rich in flavors. Yes, it is a strong coffee but has balanced acidity and taste. The aromas of one Espresso go into the nostrils, then back to the throat, allowing you to savor it. A perfect-brewed espresso helps you enjoy a satisfying sweetness that other coffee methods cannot give.

How to drink an Espresso

If you are a first-timer to taste espresso, you must know the proper way to drink it, too, so you can fully enjoy its rich flavors. But first, decide where you want to drink your first Espresso. If you are planning to do it at home, make sure that you have all the important things to use in brewing your Espresso. This includes an espresso brewer, fresh beans, cup, and other essentials. It would be nice if you prepared sparkling water, lime rind, lemon juice, and chocolates.

But if you choose to have it in a cafe, there’s nothing to worry about preparing the things needed for the method. Just make sure that you have the money to pay for the shot.

If you are still in doubt if you would love to taste it, then the following steps can help you drink your Espresso the best way.

  • If you choose to drink it at home, warm up your container first. This will give you a better espresso experience.
  • Again, if you choose to drink at home, it’s your chance now to create your mixture. You can choose if it’s for a single shot or double. It will depend on the amount of caffeine you want.
  • Give your sparkling water a sip. It’s optional, but many would recommend it. Even if you buy a shot of Espresso from a café, the barista will serve you a small bottle of sparkling water each time. The purpose of having the sparkling water is to cleanse your palate first so you can fully enjoy the taste of your Espresso.
  • Skim off the cream away. It might raise many eyebrows because, for most people, a perfect crema makes a beautiful shot of Espresso. But the truth is, it does not taste as great as how it looks. Skimming it off will make you enjoy the richness and fullness of your Espresso.
  • Mix your shot of Espresso. This is to blend the thicker parts of the shot so it will not settle at the bottom of the container with the lighter parts on top.
  • Combine your other ingredients. With regular brew, you mostly add cream or sugar. You can do it with your Espresso too though it’s still optional and depends on your preferences. You can have it your way, and no one can ever question you that. 
  • Bite on something. Learn from the Italians; they are enjoying their Espresso with a biscotti. So if you are unsure what to nibble while sipping it, choose your favorite biscuit or cake.
  • Sip your Espresso because you enjoy it. No other reason, but you love sipping your Espresso. Let the rich flavor roll over your taste buds and enjoy the fragrance too of this little cup of happiness.

What is a Shot of Espresso?

You’ve learned that the key to a perfect espresso is the pressure you put in it. That pressure is considered the ‘shot.’ But that doesn’t mean you drink it straight away like a real shot. Drink it like a normal dose of coffee. The Espresso is served as a single shot or double shot. The single shots contain 30 ml espresso while the double shot of Espresso contains 60 ml espresso. The only difference is the fact that Espresso is not the same as your regular coffee brew.

What’s it Taste Like? Any Flavor Notes?

Espresso is about the flavors and their unique personality. It’s a very dignified beverage, but not all coffee drinkers or lovers feel this way. This is why there are still people who go to the coffee shops and focus on sugary syrups rather than the bean’s quality.

If you are a true coffee enthusiast, look for these espresso flavors every time you buy an espresso.

The Acid-Like Flavor. It is the sour, tart taste part. And yes, you will find it in some types of coffee. The taste is similar to the bitter taste you find in beer. This flavor comes from a different kind of bean and how it is being extracted.

The Bitter Flavor. Of course, for beginners, they will not appreciate this espresso flavor. But if you drink it more often, you will soon realize how delicious the shot’s rich and bold flavor is. Take note that this bitterness is not the same as the burnt one. It’s an assurance that Espresso is not a cheap cup of coffee. 

The Nutty-Like Flavor. If it’s not acidic or not bitter to you, then it has a nutty flavor like almond or walnut. The taste is crisp, and this depends on how much heat is being applied to the coffee beans while in the drying process.

The Pungent Flavor. To better enjoy your Espresso, take a sip of air first into your lips then swallow it. This will allow the taste buds to see the pungent notes of your shot. If your taste bud is sensitive, then you will experience the notes of ground black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and more spice.

The Sweet Flavor. If you are used to drinking your favorite espresso shot, notice the notes of sweetness in your coffee. You will start to taste the sweetness of vanilla, caramel, cocoa, sugar, and tropical fruits.

​Types of Espresso Drinks

It’s hard to distinguish one type of espresso beverage from another. The purist drinkers prefer to drink straight espresso. But many coffee enthusiasts prefer other variations of this unique brew. Here are some of their choices.

The Espresso Shot – If you will ask some aficionados, the best way for them to enjoy their Espresso is through the straight espresso shot. But some coffee lovers find it so strong and bitter. It takes the right practice before one person can improve the taste of the espresso shot.

The Latte – It’s a 4:1 ratio of milk and Espresso. If you don’t like the bitter flavor you sometimes get from an espresso, this is a better choice. It can be hot or cold. 

The Cappuccino – It’s always better to serve it hot. The milk you are using for the cappuccino drink is aerated, which results in foam chilling at the very top of the steamed milk. 

The Americano – It is a mixture of water and Espresso and can be served hot or with ice.  

The Cortado – It’s a 1:1 ratio of Espresso and milk. The steamed milk is expected to form the foam on top of the beverage. 

The Flat White – It is similar to the latte flavor, but the ratio of milk to Espresso is 3:1.

The Macchiato – It is a shot of Espresso topped with a couple of steamed milk foam. The real macchiato is different from that one you find in some cafe.

The Affogato – It’s an ice cream or gelato beverage topped with an espresso. 


So what is Espresso all about? It is not a drink itself but a coffee-making method developed and improved by Italian culture. It is the same culture that introduces gelato ice cream, tiramisu, and famous wines all over the world. 

Always remember that Espresso coffee brewing secures the best of caffeine’s taste components. It is a brewing method that extracts many of the best aromatic mixtures that can be found in roasted brew. 

Espresso is the only coffee beverage that allows drinkers to feel the brew’s rich flavor, which you cannot enjoy in other brewing processes. If you love the taste of caffeine and want the best of it, then a shot of Espresso is worth the try.

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