Making the perfect espresso
Web designers often have to stay up late to meet deadlines so we become connoisseurs of the black beverage.
With time and patience you will acquire the skill to make a perfect espresso every time - deep colour creamy texture and sweet taste with a good crema on top.
To make the best espresso you need roasted Arabica beans (100%) and they must be very finely ground and a good quality machine capable of delivering high pressure hot water. (Lavazza have a good quality product range.)
Put the finely ground espresso beans into the machine and very lightly compact them (- see your machines manufacturers instructions). They key to a good espresso and a good Crema is the pressure of hot water - NOT STEAM as this scorches the grinds and causes a bitter taste - so it is vital to have a good quality espresso machine. Generally speaking Italy make the best machines but some high end brands are producing very credible alternatives at a lower price point. See www.coffeerevolution.net for top coffee tips.
Pressure of the water is the key, the higher the pressure the better the coffee. Some cheap kitchen appliances use very hot steam to extract the coffee and this ends up scortching them and creating a very bitter taste.
Extraction time and the grind make a massive difference to the taste of the coffee. A fine grind pulls out most of the flavour from the beans, wheras a course grind can produce a weaker latte style shot of espresso.
Making most types of coffee requires an espresso shot, a very small intense shot gives a sweet syrupy taste, a longer shot extracts more caffeine and produces a bitter note to the coffee. Most people prefer something in between.
Cappuccino, Americano, Mocha, Latte
Short shots (Ristretto, Corto, Cortissimo) Lower caffeine
Flat White, Latte, Cortado
Double short shots (Revvivare) Very high caffeine
Revolute coffee and stronger flat white
Arabica beans are generally preferred although Robusta contain a higher caffeine content, especially when given a milk roast. Most coffees sold are blended where characteristics from a number of plants and regions are amalgamated for the ultimate taste.
An espresso shot makes the basis for Latte, Cappuccino, Americano etc....