What is Espresso Coffee?

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Everything you Need to Know About Espresso

Espresso is probably the most commonly drunk type of coffee within Australia, yet a lot of misunderstanding surrounds it. While some people may know the basics – it’s strong, flavourful, and is the base for most coffee drinks, the majority of coffee drinkers don’t know much more. 


So what exactly is espresso?

Put simply, espresso is concentrated coffee. It’s made by pushing water through finely-ground coffee at an intense pressure. 


Espresso is a brewing method – alongside filter, plunger, chemex, aeropress and a multitude of others. It’s the strongest type of brewed coffee, with the highest caffeine content. However, the serving size of espresso compared to other types of brewed coffee is significantly smaller. The caffeine content of one serving is usually less than other methods like filter or plunger. 


One of the key differences between espresso and other brewing methods is the time it takes to brew. Espresso generally takes around 30 seconds to brew, whereas other methods can take upward of 5 to 10 minutes. 


Depending on where, when and how the coffee is grown, washed and roasted, espresso coffee can have different undertones. These undertones can include nutty, chocolatey or fruity flavours. They can usually only be tasted in black coffees (e.g. americanos or a straight espresso shot), as drinking espresso with milk tends to mute these flavours. 


What should a good espresso shot look like? 

When drawn perfectly, an espresso shot (also known as a “God Shot“) should come out of the machine looking beautifully golden, with a slightly thick consistency. The shot should have a 0.5 to 1cm crema with golden brown and honey-like colours. It should take around 30 seconds to draw, give or take a couple of seconds, and generally will give you somewhere around 30-40ml of espresso. 


Storing Espresso Coffee

The same rules apply to storing espresso roasted and ground coffee as all other types. You should keep it in a cool and dry place, preferably in an airtight container. Most importantly, do not put it in the fridge or freezer! You’ll lose all the beautiful flavours much quicker if you store them in your fridge or freezer. For a more in depth explanation of how to properly store your coffee, check out our blog post that explains it all.

Ryadan Jeavons

by Ryadan Jeavons

Ryd is a passionate coffee educator who started his career in 2000 as a barista. Having seen the coffee industry develop over the years and how much there is to learn about coffee still, his personal mission has become a role as the conduit between the industry and the consumer. He is passionate about educating the public on all the wonderful things we are learning about this golden liquid drink.

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