• Twitter
  • Technocrati
  • stumbleupon
  • flickr
  • digg
  • youtube
  • facebook

Follow the Mug Life Network

What is Espresso?


A little history lesson
The story of espresso as we know it began with a coffee break. It didn’t start as an attempt to raise the bar of quality but to boost the bottom line of profits. In Italy at the dawn of the twentieth century a factory owner named Luigi Bezzera was quite displeased by the amount of time his employees were spending in non-productive folderol during coffee breaks waiting for their cups to brew. Luigi developed a system that would produce an awful cup of the stuff faster.

These machines used water and steam to push coffee out quick.The only problem was the stuff was bitter as sin. Fortunately for us Luigi “bottom line” Bezzera knew a profit when he saw it and sold the patent to the machine to a man named Desiderio Pavoni in 1905. Pavoni began to experiment with his new contraption and discovered you could create a palatable cup of coffee if you used water that was 195 degrees Fahrenheit, with 8 to 9 bars of pressure. These are the standards that shape the way we brew today.

So seriously what is the stuff!!

Espresso is a form of coffee that is brewed at high pressure with hot water producing a more concentrated form of coffee then a “cup of drip” that you find at most American diners and kitchens. The word espresso in Italian can mean at least two things according to David C. Schomer. It can mean “being fast and rapid,” but can also mean something prepared “especially for you.” Café Espresso is then coffee that is produced quickly in individual servings.

How to make it
Making espresso well is an art form, and must be taken very seriously if someone wants to produce a cup that brings out the best in a coffee. A barista (someone who prepares espresso drinks) must control how finely the coffee is ground to the slightest degree, the amount of coffee used to fractions of a gram, and the length of time the coffee is extracted. They must be able to adjust these settings on the fly as humidity, temperature, machine idiosyncrasies, and other factors change. As technology improves a barista is now able to control the pressure and temperature more accurately and easily and must be able to adjust how they brew around these factors as well.

We will go into greater detail about all of these things in the future, but for now remember the four cardinal rules of making a great cup:

1. Grind it fresh. If possible grind your coffee right before you brew it.
2. Make sure the grind is right. A grind can be very finicky make sure you’re using a grind that best suits the coffee and the environment you are brewing in.
3. Put the right amount in. This is called “dosing” and the slightest change in how much coffee you use can make the difference between an amazing cup and an appalling cup.
4. Pack it right. This step is so important. It deals with how you put the coffee in the “portafilter” (the basket in which coffe is placed). We’ll talk about how and how not to do this later.

Comments (0)

Related Posts with Thumbnails