There are two types of people in this world. Those who say “es-pres-so” & those who say “ex-spress-o”. For some reason, unbeknownst to myself and many I presume who pronounce the former, people seriously improperly say espresso without any realization of their error. I equate the latter pronunciation to nails on a chalk board. It’s not just me, right? Maybe I am annoyed because it’s possible I myself in the past, mistakenly said “expresso”. While saying “EXpresso” is a mispronunciation, loosely translated, means a cup of coffee brewed expressly for you.
The lack of proper pronunciation, or knowledge of espresso itself, is only because of a lack of education on the greatest commodity in our world now- a commodity that has surpassed oil. As stated the end of last year in the Washington Post, “For futures traders, coffee was a better bet than gold, silver or platinum — and far more energizing than crude, heating oil and natural gas, which rounded out the three worst-performing commodities of the year.” This topic is saturated, I’ll leave it for a future post & stick to venting on my personal feelings regarding pronunciation, and hash out a few critical details about the exquisite espresso.
Here are my top 4 things you should know about espresso:
1.) Espresso is not a roast.
First, a basic definition via Wikipedia:
Espresso (/ɛˈsprɛsoʊ/, Italian: [esˈprɛsso]), sometimes spelled expresso, is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso is generally thicker than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids, and has crema on top (a foam with a creamy consistency). As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of espresso are very concentrated.
Espresso is a brewing method. A shot pulled through extraction. It may also be used to describe the fine grind of the coffee bean required for a perfect shot. Espresso shots require tamping & the sweet result shows with a thin layer of crema. It is even a drink, but espresso is not a roast.
2.) Espressos are not always best as dark roasts.
Not all beans are recommended for espresso roasts, but most are. The conception that only dark roasts are best for espresso lacks clairvoyance and a factual backing. It’s science:
Espresso potential is maximized in roasting when you maximize the sweetness and aroma of the coffee while minimizing the bitterness and acidity. Most people focus on the latter and therefore roast extremely dark, yet without sweetness and aroma the espresso will never be palatable. This explains the unpopularity of straight espresso and the popularity of espresso based drinks where either milk or other flavors are used to replace the sweetness that was lost by roasting darkly.
” I believe a Dark Roast can end at a nice, even Full City+ for certain regions. As specialty roasters, we often to choose to showcase a roast profile(s) that are unique to that roaster. For instance I have a Full City++ that works for selected regions that won’t lose flavour or too much density when taken to that level. At they end of the day, there is no dark roast that is valuable if you can’t taste the well rounded essence of the bean.”
Remember, when selecting your fuel, darker roasts contain less caffeine than light roasts. Lighter roasts also have brighter, more true to the region flavors in each cup.
The brewing of a shot of roasted coffee beans will pour a hot, steamy, espresso shot. It’s in fact, a base for an assortment of coffee drinks. We may choose to consume solo as a shot, or as a caffe latte, americano or cortado. The picture aside is a home-made affogato.
4.) Espresso is not the strongest coffee drink.
This is also best explained through science. Espresso is brewed to be a smaller amount of liquid, about 1 ounce versus a cup of coffee with about 8 ounces. Coffee Chemistry outlines the facts & provides two perspectives: the Beverage Perspective & the Volume Perspective. From the Beverage Perspective, drip coffee has more caffeine while from the Volume Perspective, espresso has more caffeine.
If optimal caffeine is your desire, make sure to have a red eye.
If you’d like to try one of the most unique coffees out there, brewed through your espresso machine, drip brew of pour-over, check out the single origins & veritas blend that Toro Coffee Co. has to offer. All specialty beans are carefully selected and roasted to order. No one else in the coffee game can claim that they are a Fresh Roasted Movement. Try the “oro”.
Whether you say soda or pop, matters not. So, if you’d love to keep putting an x where it should’t be- do you. As long as you carry the knowledge of the content and subject, you’re golden.
*All photos within are property of Toro Organics.