There are those who believe that espresso is a dark, bitter almost burnt flavoured drink. Espresso however is not a roast of coffee but a method of preparation, indeed any bean or roast level can be used to produce an espresso.
An espresso machine is normally used to make an espresso. Traditional machines had a lever which was pulled to force the water through the beans, leading to the term pulling a shot, hence a shot of espresso.
The key to ensuring that you have an espresso to savour is to ensure that you begin with finely ground beans in your coffee machine. These then need to be tightly compacted, ideally with a coffee tamper to ensure that water will evenly percolate though the coffee. Nearly boiling water must then be forced through the coffee at high pressure. This in turn produces a thick intense coffee with a foam on top. This foam is known as creama and is a direct result of the emulsification of the oils in the coffee beans. Normally, a finished espresso ends up being approximately 1oz and so is therefore traditionally served in a demi tasse cup as a shot.
As a drink in its own right it is gaining even more popularity in the United States, in Italy however the Italians are so serious about the beverage that in 1998 the Italian National Espresso Institute was founded. http://www.espressoitaliano.org. This aims to safeguard the drink and its production.
Espresso is the base of many other popular coffee drinks which we will be exploring over the next few days. So why not be bold and try give an espresso a try today?