Espresso Blog

How Do You Know If You've Poured the Perfect Shot of Espresso?

The perfect shot of espresso isn't an elusive goal. It's within any barista's reach, with a little practice. Beyond the basics of pulling a shot, you just need to know how to evaluate an espresso's appearance, smell and taste.

So, what makes a shot of espresso truly great? 

The right brew time, for starters. Let's assume you have a delicious espresso roast, you know how to examine and tweak your grind, and how to tamp it into the portafilter just like so. If you've got these initial steps down, your espresso should take somewhere between 20 and 25 seconds to brew.

The stream of espresso...

Espresso Extraction: A Finer Grind is Usually Better

With years of experience evaluating coffee quality in coffee shops and restaurants, one brewing error pops up more than others: The grind is too coarse, resulting in an under-extracted, not-so-great shot of espresso.

Hence, it’s time to get that stopwatch out and start timing espresso pours. A shot from a traditional machine should take 20-30 seconds to pour, no matter what the portion size (single, double, triple). We often see shops pouring espresso in 8-15 seconds, making it too light in color with a weak crema, and lacking strength, body and complexity.

Here’s how to fix your shot-pour...

Non-Dairy Milks: Which Ones Are Best With Espresso?

Dairy milk may still rule the latte universe, but a variety of alternatives have been threatening its dominance since soy milk started showing up in cappuccino cups in the ’90s. And with almond and hemp milks — and even macadamia, cashew and coconut — to contend with, baristas can find themselves juggling a variety of steaming techniques as they try not to burn non-dairy milks while getting them hot enough to add to espresso. 

Soy’s Superiority

For vegans and the lactose intolerant, soy milk is still the standby. It’s also the non-dairy choice of baristas because it creates the best foam,...

Italian Espresso: The Founder of Tradition

Just the word “espresso” itself indicates speed, a special purpose, and made to order. The concept of the espresso is best summarized with the saying “the consumer not the espresso must wait.” If the espresso is left to wait for consumption, the foam dissipates and the art of the espresso is lost in the dry wallsof the cup and the patchy surface of the drink. Additionally, the smoothness of the taste is lost.

 

 

Italian Espresso: a small cup of concentrated brew prepared on request by extraction of ground roasted coffee beans with hot water under pressure for a defined short time.

 

 

 

On the Grind

While it might not be entirely necessary to understand the intricate chemical and physical structures of the coffee bean, the basics should be understood in order to adequately appreciate the art form of grinding the coffee bean. Whether it’s being ground mechanically or manually, the ultimate goal is to break the bean into smaller particles to create more surface area to allow a better infusion of flavor into water.

In addition to its dependency on good water and a quality roast, the brew is also largely dependent on a sound grinding process. Within realm of grinding, there are several...

Water Treatment for Commercial Espresso Equipment

Of course, the second ingredient of espresso is water. However obvious this statement may seem, the role of the quality of the water used in the preparation process should not be taken lightly. 

Even if the water coming from public waterworks is safe for consumption, further treatment for the use of coffee and espresso purposes may be required.  An operation should consider water treatment for two main reasons: the taste of the final product and the longevity of your machine.

Strange flavors that linger in the water after it’s purified for public consumption must be removed.  Oftentimes,...

Espresso: An Organoleptic Experience

 

Specifically in Italy, everyone has a similar mental picture when they hear “espresso.”  It’s a small heavy china cup whose capacity is around 50ml. It is half full with a dark brew and then topped by thick, reddish-brown foam of tiny bubbles. Millions of cups are sold worldwide each day, every consumer finding a place for it in their day; morning eye-opener, capping off a meal later in the day, or perhaps offering a sense of revival at the end of a long day.

Naturally, most people concern themselves with the simple act of consuming the espresso. A closer look at the process...

Coffee Operation Pop Quiz

As a coffee retailer, you probably have a solid working knowledge of the coffee world, as so many new products, purchasing decisions, and flavors continue to surround such an antique drink.  While your understanding is important to running a successful business, it is just as vital that your staff understands the product they are serving as well, as they are the link between the customer and that cup of joe. Here are a few basic questions that your staff should be able to answer:

How does the cost of the coffee relate to its quality?

Oftentimes, the cost of specialty coffee pertains to...

Avoid the Common Coffee Mistakes

Freshness:

One of the biggest issues in terms of quality problems is the freshness.  Oftentimes, it is recommended that you don’t brew more coffee than you can use in 45 minutes. Brewing an overabundance of coffee and leaving it to sit on heating elements until it is gone drastically changes the flavor of the coffee, regardless of the quality of the beans.

Cleaning:

One of the most common problems is also one of the most basic: cleaning. Especially if you are switching between regular and flavored coffee, a thorough cleaning regimen is of the utmost importance, as the oils will linger and...

Choosing the Proper Commercial Espresso Equipment, by Peter Kelsch

The "specialty" appeal of specialty coffee has already been established, and consumers have now come to expect high-quality, great-tasting product.  To meet customer expectations, retailers focus on creating exciting beverage offerings prepared by knowledgeable employees and served in an ambience that is inviting.  While all can directly affect your business' bottom line, one of the most fundamental requirements to create these specialty beverages is to have the appropriate equipment. Therefore, the decision on which equipment to purchase should not be taken lightly.

Be it an espresso...

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