Compared to other coffee brewing methods, espresso often has a thicker consistency, a higher concentration of suspended solids, and crema (foam). As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavours and chemicals in a typical cup of coffee are very concentrated; so espresso is the base for other drinks, such as a latte, cappuccino, macchiato, mocha, or americano.
While espresso has more caffeine per unit volume than most beverages, compared on the basis of usual serving sizes, a 30 mL (1 US fluid ounce) shot of espresso has about one third the caffeine of a standard 180 mL (6 US fluid ounces) cup of drip-brewed coffee, which varies from 80 to 130 mg.
Espresso is made by forcing very hot water under high pressure through finely ground, compacted coffee. This process produces an almost syrupy beverage by extracting both solid and dissolved components. It also produces the definitive crema, by emulsifying the oils in the ground coffee into a colloid, which does not occur in other brewing methods. There is no universal standard defining the process of extracting espresso, but there are several published definitions which attempt to place constraints on the amount and type of ground coffee used, the temperature and pressure of the water, and the rate of extraction. Generally, one uses an espresso machine to make espresso. The act of producing a shot of espresso is often termed "pulling" a shot, originating from lever espresso machines, which require pulling down a handle attached to a spring-loaded piston, forcing hot water through the coffee at high pressure. Today, however, it is more common for the pressure to be generated by an electric pump.
Espresso is a coffee beverage and 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; but farther north, the trend moves toward slightly lighter roasts. Outside of Italy a wide range of roasts are popular.
Espresso has risen as a common brewing method in many parts of the world. With the rise of various coffee chains in the 1990s, espresso-based drinks rose in popularity in the United States, with the city of Seattle viewed as one of the origins of modern interest. In addition to the Italian style of coffee, coffee chains typically offer many variations by adding syrups, whipped cream, flavor extracts, soy milk, and various spices to their drinks.
Angelo Moriondo’s Italian patent, which was registered in 1884 (No. 33/256), is notable. Ian Bersten, whose history of coffee brewers is cited below, claims to have been the first to discover Moriondo’s patent. Bersten describes the device as “… almost certainly the first Italian bar machine that controlled the supply of steam and water separately through the coffee” and Moriondo as “... certainly one of the earliest discoverers of the expresso [sic] machine, if not the earliest.” Unlike true espresso machines, it was a bulk brewer, and did not brew coffee “expressly” for the individual customer.
Seventeen years later, in 1901, Milanese Luigi Bezzera came up with a number of improvements to the espresso machine. He patented a number of these, the first of which was applied for on the 19th of December 1901. It was titled “Innovations in the machinery to prepare and immediately serve coffee beverage” (Patent No. 153/94, 61707, granted on the 5th of June 1902).
In 1905, the patent was bought by Desiderio Pavoni, who founded the “La Pavoni” company and began to produce the machine industrially (one a day) in a small workshop in Via Parini in Milan.
The popularity of espresso developed in various ways; a detailed discussion of the spread of espresso is given in (Morris 2007), which is a source of various statements below.
In Italy, the rise of espresso consumption was associated with urbanization, espresso bars providing a place for socialization. Further, coffee prices were controlled by local authorities, provided the coffee was consumed standing up, encouraging the "stand at a bar" culture.
In the Anglosphere, espresso became popular, particularly in the form of cappuccino, due to the tradition of drinking coffee with milk and the exotic appeal of the foam; in the United States, this was more often in the form of lattes, particularly with flavored syrups added. The latte is claimed to have been invented in the 1950s by Italian American Lino Meiorin of Caffe Mediterraneum in Berkeley, California, as a long cappuccino, and was then popularized in Seattle, and then nationally and internationally by Seattle-based Starbucks in the late 1980s and 1990s.
In the United Kingdom, espresso grew in popularity among youth in the 1950s, who felt more welcome in the coffee shops than in public houses (pubs).
Espresso was initially popular, particularly within the Italian diaspora, growing in popularity with tourism to Italy exposing others to espresso, as developed by Eiscafès established by Italians in Germany.
Initially, expatriate Italian espresso bars were downmarket venues, serving the working class Italian diaspora – and thus providing appeal to the alternative subculture / counterculture; this can still be seen in the United States in Italian American neighborhoods, such as Boston's North End, New York's Little Italy, and San Francisco's North Beach. As specialty coffee developed in the 1980s (following earlier developments in the 1970s and even 1960s), an indigenous artisanal coffee culture developed, with espresso instead positioned as an upmarket drink.
Today, coffee culture commentators distinguish large chain, midmarket coffee as "Second Wave Coffee", and upmarket, artisanal coffee as Third Wave Coffee.
In Northern Europe (particularly Scandinavia) and, to a greater extent, in most of Central Europe, espresso is associated with European identity, as in New Europe. By contrast, in Hungary, espresso is associated with pre-Communist cafe culture.
In the Middle East, espresso is quite popular and becoming more widely available with the openings of Western coffee shop chains. However, the most common type of coffee remains what is popularly called in English "Turkish coffee" (although it is variously known as "Arabian coffee" or "Greek coffee" in various parts of the world) which is also served short like espresso. Turkish coffee is almost the same measure of ground coffee as an espresso, added to water and brought to a boil. It is quite common that ground cardamom is added to the blend of coffee for added flavor.
Café vs. home preparation
A distinctive feature of espresso, as opposed to brewed coffee, is espresso's association with cafés, due both to the specialized equipment and skill required, thus making the enjoyment of espresso a social experience.
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. Initially, espresso machines were not available for home use; development of domestic machines began in the 1970s, and remained expensive and bulky, and required skill to operate. In recent years, the invention of convenient counter-top home espresso makers based on coffee pods (like the E.S.E standard) has increased the quantity of espresso consumed at home.
Etymology and usage of the term
The origin of the term "espresso" is the subject of considerable debate. Although some Anglo-American dictionaries simply refer to "pressed-out", "espresso," much like the English word "express", conveys the senses of "just for you" and "quickly," which can be related to the method of espresso preparation.The words express, expres and espresso each have several meanings in English, French and Italian. The first meaning is to do with the idea of "expressing" or squeezing the flavour from the coffee using the pressure of the steam. The second meaning is to do with speed, as in a train. Finally there is the notion of doing something "expressly" for a person ... The first Bezzera and Pavoni espresso machines in 1906 took 45 seconds to make a cup of coffee, one at a time, expressly for you.
The spelling espresso is widely considered correct while expresso appears as a less common variant. Italy uses the term espresso, substituting most x letters in Latin root words with s; x is not considered part of the standard Italian alphabet. Italian people commonly refer to it simply as caffè (coffee), espresso being the ordinary coffee to order; in Spain, while café expreso is seen as the more "formal" denomination, café solo (alone, without milk) is the usual way to ask for it when at an espresso bar.
In Slovakia and Czechia, espresso is commonly referred to as preso, and is served with milk (either 10%-fat "coffee cream" packaged in small plastic cups, or milk in a tiny bucket in better cafés) on the side by default. Espresso lungo is also still more common than normale (usually referred to as piccolo), let alone ristretto. This is referred to as "presso with milk" (preso s mliekom in Slovak, preso s mlékem in Czech). The practice is slowly changing (especially under the influence of specialty coffee shops and international coffee chains).
Modern espresso, using hot water under pressure, as pioneered by Gaggia in the 1940s, was originally called crema caffè, in English "cream coffee", as can be seen on old Gaggia machines, due to the crema. This term is no longer used, though crema caffè and variants (caffè crema, café crema) find occasional use in branding.
Cafés generally have a standardized shot (size and length), such as "triple ristretto", only varying the number of shots in espresso-based drinks such as lattes, but not changing the extraction – changing between a double and a triple requires changing the filter basket size, while changing between ristretto, normale, and lungo require changing the grind, and cannot easily be accommodated in a busy café, as fine tweaking of the grind is a central aspect to consistent quality espresso-making, which is disrupted by major changes, such as ristretto to lungo.
The size can be a single, double, or triple, which corresponds roughly to a 1, 2, and 3 US fluid ounce (approximately 30, 60 or 90ml) standard (normale) shot, and use a proportional amount of ground coffee, roughly 7–8, 14–16, and 21–24 grams; correspondingly sized filter baskets are used. The Italian term doppio is often used for a double, with solo and triplo being more rarely used for singles and triples. The single shot is the traditional shot size, being the maximum that could easily be pulled on a lever machine, while the double is the standard shot today.
Single baskets are sharply tapered or stepped down in diameter to provide comparable depth to the double baskets and, therefore, comparable resistance to water pressure. Most double baskets are gently tapered (the "Faema model"), while others, such as the La Marzocco, have straight sides. Triple baskets are normally straight-sided.
Portafilters will often come with two spouts, usually closely spaced, and a double-size basket – each spout can optionally dispense into a separate cup, yielding two solo-size (but doppio-brewed) shots, or into a single cup (hence the close spacing). True solo shots are rare, with a single shot in a café generally being half of a doppio shot.
In espresso-based drinks, particularly larger milk-based drinks, a drink with three or four shots of espresso will be called a "triple" or "quad", respectively, but this does not mean the shots themselves are triple or quadruple shots. Rather, generally double shots will be used, with one and a half shots used in a triple (split via the two spouts), and two shots used in a quad.
The length of the shot can be ristretto (restricted), normale/standard (normal), or lungo (long): these correspond to a smaller or larger drink with the same amount of ground coffee and same level of extraction. Proportions vary, and the volume (and low density) of crema make volume-based comparisons difficult (precise measurement uses the mass of the drink), but proportions of 1:1, 1:2, and 1:3–4 are common for ristretto, normale, and lungo, corresponding to 1, 2, and 3–4 US fl oz (30 ml, 60 ml, 90–120 ml) for a double shot. Ristretto is the most commonly used of these terms, and double or triple ristrettos are particularly associated with artisanal espresso.
Ristretto, normale, and lungo are not simply the same shot, stopped at different times – this will result in an underextracted shot (if run too short a time) or an overextracted shot (if run too long a time). Rather, the grind is adjusted (finer for ristretto, coarser for lungo) so the target volume is achieved by the time extraction finishes.
A significantly longer shot, rare in the Anglosphere, is the caffè crema, which is longer than a lungo, ranging in size from 4–8 US fl oz (120–240 ml), and brewed in the same way, with a coarser grind.
The method of adding hot water produces a milder version of original flavor, while passing more water through the load of ground coffee will add other flavors to the espresso, which might be unpleasant for some people.
In addition to being served alone, espresso is frequently blended, notably with milk (either steamed (without significant foam), wet foamed ("microfoam"), or dry foamed) and with hot water. Notable milk-based espresso drinks, in order of size, include: macchiato, cappuccino, flat white, and latte, while espresso and water drinks especially include the Americano and long black. Others include the red eye and latte macchiato. The cortado, piccolo, and galão are made primarily with steamed milk with little or no foam.
In order of size, these may be organized as follows:
- Traditional macchiato: 35–40 ml, one shot (30 ml) with a small amount of milk (mostly steamed, with slight foam so there is a visible mark)
- Modern macchiato: 60 ml or 120 ml, one or two shots (30 or 60 ml), with 1:1 milk
- Cortado: 60 ml, one shot with 1:1 milk, little foam
- Piccolo: 90 ml, one shot (30 ml) with 1:2 milk, little foam
- Galão: 120 ml, one shot with 1:3 milk, little foam
- Flat white: 150 ml, one or two shots (30 or 60 ml), with 1:4 or 2:3 milk
- Cappuccino: 150–180 ml, one or two shots (30 or 60 ml), traditionally with significant dry foam, today often found with wet foam
- Latte: 240–600 ml, two or more shots (60 ml), with 1:3–1:9 milk
Some common combinations may be organized graphically as follows:
mixed with frothed milk hot water espresso is on top latte macchiato long black bottom caffè latte caffè americano
Methods of preparation differ between drinks and between baristas. For macchiatos, cappuccino, flat white, and smaller lattes and Americanos, the espresso is brewed into the cup, then the milk or water is poured in. For larger drinks, where a tall glass will not fit under the brew head, the espresso is brewed into a small cup, then poured into the larger cup; for this purpose a demitasse or specialized espresso brew pitcher may be used. This "pouring into an existing glass" is a defining characteristic of the latte macchiato and classic renditions of the red eye. Alternatively, a glass with "existing" water may have espresso brewed into it – to preserve the crema – in the long black. Brewing onto milk is not generally done.
- Affogato (It. "drowned"): Espresso served over gelato. Traditionally, vanilla is used, but some coffeehouses or customers use any flavor.
- Americano ("American"): Espresso and hot water, classically using equal parts each, with the water added to the espresso. Americano was created by American G.I.s during World War I, who added hot water to dilute the strong taste of the traditional espresso. It is similar to a long black, but with opposite order.
- Antoccino ("priceless"): A single shot of espresso with the same quantity of steamed milk poured above it, served in a demitasse (espresso cup)
- Bicerin (Pms. "little glass"): Made of layers of espresso, drinking chocolate, and whole milk, invented and served in Turin.
- Black eye: A cup of drip coffee with two shots of espresso in it (alternately a red-eye or shot in the dark).
- Bombón (Sp. "confection"): Espresso served with condensed milk, served in Southeast Asia, Canary Islands, Cook Islands and Mainland Spain
- Breve (It. "brief"): Espresso with half-and-half
- Bucci: Espresso served in Key West's Cuban cafes (sugar is always added; but may be added before or after brewing)
- Café au lait (Fr. "coffee with milk"): Made by combining equal proportions of strongly brewed drip coffee and hot milk. In the United States, it is usually prepared instead with French press or drip coffee. (Very similar to "latte", see entry for lattes below)
- Cafè Marocchino: Created in Turin, normally served in a small glass, this is a shot of espresso, a sprinkling of cocoa, frothed whole milk (about two tablespoons to bring to the brim of the glass), then a further sprinkling of cocoa is added on top.
- Caffè Macchiato (It. "stained"): A small amount of milk or, sometimes, its foam is spooned onto the espresso, in Italy it further differentiates between caffè macchiato caldo (warm) and caffè macchiato freddo (cold), depending on the temperature of the milk being added; the cold version is gaining in popularity, as some people are not able to stand the rather hot temperature of caffè macchiato caldo, and therefore have to wait one or two minutes before being able to consume this version of the drink. The caffè macchiato is to be differentiated from the latte macchiato (described above). In France, it is known as a noisette.
- Caffè Medici: A doppio poured over chocolate syrup and orange (and sometimes lemon) peel, usually topped with whipped cream, the drink originated at Seattle's historic Last Exit on Brooklyn coffeehouse.
- Caffè Tobio: Espresso with an equal amount of American coffee, similar to Americano or long black
- Cappuccino: Traditionally, one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third microfoam, often in the United States, the cappuccino is made as a cafè latte with much more foam, which is less espresso than the traditional definition would require. Sometimes it is topped upon request with a light dusting of cocoa powder.
- Carajillo: (Sp. slang for "nothing"): Espresso with a shot of brandy.
- Con hielo (Sp. "with ice"): Espresso immediately poured over two ice cubes, it is preferred in Madrid during summer.
- Corretto (It. "corrected"): coffee with a shot of liquor, usually grappa or brandy. Corretto is also the common Italian word for "spiked (with liquor)".
- Cortado (Sp./Port. "cut"): Espresso "cut" with a small amount of warm milk
- Cubano (Sp. "Cuban"): Sugar is added to the collection container before brewing for a sweet flavor, different from that if the sugar is added after brewing. Sugar can also be whipped into a small amount of espresso after brewing and then mixed with the rest of the shot. Sometimes called cafe tinto.
- Doppio: (It. "Double") Double (2 US fluid ounces) shot of espresso.
- Espresso con panna (It. "espresso with cream"): Espresso with whipped cream on top
- Flat white: a coffee drink made of one-third espresso and two thirds steamed milk with little or no foam, very similar to "latte"
- Frappe: Iced coffee topped with whipped cream and usually chocolate syrup (flavors varies)
- Frappuccino: A type of espresso coffee blended with ice and milk, branded exclusively by Starbucks
- Guillermo: Originally, one or two shots of hot espresso, poured over slices of lime it can also be served on ice, sometimes with a touch of milk.
- Ice brewed: Brewed with chips or cubes of ice added to the basket, which results in more volume and creme. Originated on small, inexpensive espresso machines, the technique is useful on other machines to change depth of flavor and other characteristics.
- Latte (It. "milk"): This term is an abbreviation of "caffellatte" (or caffè e latte), coffee and milk. An espresso-based drink with a volume of steamed milk, it is served with either a thin layer of foam or none at all, depending on the shop or customer's preference.
- Latte macchiato (It. "stained milk"): Essentially an inverted cafè latte, with the espresso poured on top of the milk, the latte macchiato is to be differentiated from the caffè macchiato (described above). In Spain, it is known as manchada, Spanish for stained (milk).
- Long black: Similar to an Americano, but with the order reversed, the espresso is added to hot water.
- Lungo (It. "long"): More water (about 1.5x volume) is let through the ground coffee, yielding a weaker taste (40 mL), also known as an allongé in French.
- Marron (brown): Of Venezuelan etymology, it is an espresso with milk; it varies from marron claro (light brown) with more milk to marron oscuro (dark brown) with less milk.
- Mocha: Normally a latte blended with chocolate, this is not to be confused with the region of Yemen or the coffee associated with that region (which is often seen as 1/2 of the blend mocha java).
- Normale: A normal length shot, not ristretto or lungo, the term primarily is used to contrast with them.
- Red eye: A cup of drip coffee with one shot of espresso in it
- Ristretto (It. "restricted") or espresso corto (It. "short"): With less volume, it yields a stronger, sweeter taste (10–20 mL) (café serré or café court in French).
- Caffe Shakerato: An espresso with sugar shaken together with ice in a cocktail shaker
- Shot in the Dark: A cup of drip coffee with one shot of espresso in it. aka Canadiano.
- Solo (It. "single"): Single (1 US fluid ounce) shot of espresso
- Triple suicide: A cup of drip coffee with three shot of espresso in it
- Triplo or triple shot: Triple (3 US fluid ounces) shot of espresso; "triplo" is rare; "triple shot" is more common.
- Turbo: A serving of brewed or iced coffee with a shot of espresso added, branded by Dunkin' Donuts.
- Wiener Melange (German: "Viennese blend"): coffee with milk, it is similar to a cappuccino, but usually made with milder coffee (e.g. mocha), preferably caramelised.
- Cafe Zorro: double espresso added to hot water. ratio 1:1
- Espresso crema effect
- Moka pot
^ a: While the 'expresso' spelling is recognized as mainstream usage in most dictionaries, its inclusion is controversial, with many outright calling the 'x' variant illegitimate. The Oxford dictionary states, "The spelling expresso is not used in the original Italian and is strictly incorrect, although it is common."
- ^ How much caffeine is in your daily habit? – MayoClinic.com
- ^ Davids, Kenneth. Espresso: ultimate coffee. St. Martin's Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-312-24666-8. http://books.google.com/books?id=2wpvOZXC32wC&printsec=frontcover&dq=espresso#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- ^ http://www.brownbean.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=233:what-is-crema&catid=5:articles&Itemid=13
- ^ "Today's Espresso Scene". Home Barista. http://www.home-barista.com/espresso-guide-todays-scene.html. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- ^ "Espresso Coffee". Coffee Research Institute. http://www.coffeeresearch.org/espresso/definitions.htm. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- ^ "L'Espresso Italiano Certificato". Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano. http://www.espressoitaliano.org/doc/EIC%20-%20Eng%20-%20LQ.pdf. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- ^ The Book of Coffee, Francesco Illy, Ricardo Illy, 1992
- ^ Bersten, p. 105
- ^ "Caffe Mediterraneum – Invention of the Caffe Latte". http://www.caffemed.com/about_us. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- ^ E.S.E consortium
- ^ "espresso". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University press. 1989. http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50078079/50078079spg1. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- ^ Bersten, p. 99
- ^ Dictionary.com entry of expresso; Merriam Webster
- ^ (Morris)
- ^ Brewing ratios for espresso beverages
- ^ a b Anatomy of a Triple Ristretto, by Jeremy Gauger, Gimme Coffee, Mar 17, 2009 – images and explanation
- ^ From Bean to Brew, National Coffee Board. Accessed January 13, 2009.
- ^ Café au lait, culinary.net
- ^ Krishnan, J. K. Dictionary of Food and Beverage, p. 68. Gyan Books, 2005. ISBN 8182052289
- ^ Pittsburg Coffee and Espresso Catering. "The Art of Coffee Catering: Beyond the Rim"
- ^ Home-barista.com
- ^ Expresso – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-webster.com (2010-08-13). Retrieved on 2011-02-13.
- ^ Expresso | Define Expresso at Dictionary.com. Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved on 2011-02-13.
- ^ What is espresso? Or is it expresso?. Homecooking.about.com (2010-06-14). Retrieved on 2011-02-13.
- ^ What is espresso?, 1st in Coffee explains espresso coffee, Pressure brewed coffee from Italy. 1stincoffee.com. Retrieved on 2011-02-13.
- ^ What is Espresso. Espresso People. Retrieved on 2011-02-13.
- ^ Expresso or Espresso, English for students
- ^ definition of espresso from Oxford Dictionaries Online. Oxforddictionaries.com. Retrieved on 2011-02-13.
- Bersten, Ian (1993). Coffee Floats Tea Sinks: Through History and Technology to a Complete Understanding. Helian Books. ISBN 0646091808.
- Morris, Jonathan (2007), The Cappuccino Conquests. The Transnational History of Italian Coffee, http://www.cappuccinoconquests.org.uk/assets/project-report.pdf, website, summary
- Dean, Adam. "The Founding Fathers of Espresso".
- Fumagalli, Ambrogio (1995). Coffee Makers. Chronicle Books. ISBN 0811810828.
- Illy, Andrea; Viani, Rinantonio. Espresso: The Science of Quality. Academic Press. ISBN 0123703719.
- Illy, Francesco; Illy, Ricardo (1989/1992). The Book of Coffee. Milano: Abbeville Press. ISBN 1558593217.
- An espresso timeline, with illustrations.
- Coffee Drinks Illustrated — Side-by-side diagrams of a few common espresso drinks
- CoffeeGeek – a vast resource for coffee and espresso, including a large membership of contributors.
- Italian Espresso National Institute
- CoffeeGeek – An Espresso Glossary, Mark Prince, July 19, 2004
- Coffee Taster, the free newsletter of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters (an Italian organization that promotes Italian standards of espresso), featuring articles on the quality of espresso, chemical and sensory analysis, market trends
- Home-Barista.com – Resource for home espresso fanatics
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