What is Espresso?
Espresso is coffee of Italian origin, brewed by expressing or 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 also the base for other drinks such as a caffè latte, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white, or caffè Americano.
Espresso has more caffeine per unit volume than most coffee beverages, but because the usual serving size is much smaller, the total caffeine content is less than a mug of standard brewed coffee, contrary to a common belief. Although the actual caffeine content of any coffee drink varies by size, bean origin, roast method and other factors, the caffeine content of "typical" servings of espresso vs. drip brew are about 53 mg vs. 95 to 200 mg.
Espresso is made by forcing very hot water under high pressure through finely ground compacted coffee. Tamping down the coffee promotes the water's even penetration through the grounds. This process produces an almost syrupy beverage by extracting both solid and dissolved components. The crema is produced by emulsifying the oils in the ground coffee into a colloid, which does not occur in other brewing methods.
Espresso is both a coffee beverage and a brewing method. It is not a specific bean, bean blend, or roast level. Any bean or roasting level can be used to produce authentic espresso. For example, in southern Italy, a darker roast is generally preferred. Farther north, the trend moves toward slightly lighter roasts, while outside Italy a wide range is popular.
Café vs. home preparation
Home espresso machines have increased in popularity with the general rise of interest in espresso. Today, a wide range of home espresso equipment can be found in kitchen and appliance stores, online vendors, and department stores. The popularity of home espresso making parallels the increase of home coffee roasting. Some amateurs pursue both home roasting coffee and making espresso.
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