Espresso Glossary: A Glossary Of The Different Espresso Types
Page 2: Espresso Tips
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Bean: Espresso is not a type of bean, but a roast. Espresso is typically a blend of beans roasted anywhere from very light to very dark with a lot of surface oil evident. In Southern Italy, a darker roast is preferred but in Northern Italy, a more medium roast is the most popular type. Companies such as Starbucks and Peets have popularized darker roasts in their blends. Smaller companies buy from different coffee roasters. Ask whose beans a shop buys until you find the one that you like best.
Caffeine: Because a cup of espresso takes no more than 30 seconds to brew (28 seconds is the ideal brewing time), less caffeine is extracted from the ground beans than in drip coffee, which takes anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes to brew.
Size: Espresso cups are intentionally small and thick—they’re different from delicate porcelain demitasse cups. Thick cups hold the heat, while large cups dissipate the heat and the crema which carries the aroma in a fine cup of espresso. The proper portion of espresso is one ounce for these reasons. If you want a larger serving of espresso—have another and drink it in its peak form.
Garnish: You may see coffee served with a piece of lemon peel. This was originally used to counteract the taste of over-roasted, bitter espresso—the oil in the peel blocks the bitterness. Italians traditionally serve fine espresso without lemon peel. However, if you like the added flavor of the lemon peel (we do), feel free to serve it as your own tradition.
Coffee & Espresso Books: Uncommon Grounds, by Mark Pendergrast. An in-depth look at the rich history of coffee and how it transformed our world. More information.Coffee – A Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying, by Kenneth Davids. Everything you need to know about the humble cup o’ joe. More information.The World Encyclopedia of Coffee, by Mary Banks. Explore coffee’s different uses from aromatic beverage to cooking ingredient. More information.