Espresso, invented in Italy in order to serve commuters rushing to catch trains, is now enjoyed around the world. While many enjoy espresso sitting at a favorite neighborhood cafe, you can easily prepare it at home when armed with a basic understanding of espresso-brewing techniques.
Espresso – which is also a type of roast – requires a unique, rapid brewing method that utilizes pressure, not gravity, to brew, and is always prepared fresh to be savored on the spot.
“Espresso roasts are typically a dark roast that is dense and full-bodied,” says Ann-Marie Kurtz of Starbucks Coffee Company. “Our Starbucks Espresso Roast is made using a special blend of beans from Latin America and the Asia/Pacific region that are roasted to produce a rich and caramel sweetness.”
Making a perfect espresso shot at home requires an espresso brewing machine and is simple when keeping four basic fundamentals in mind: proportion, grind, freshness and water. The proportion of coffee to the appropriate amount of water ensures espresso is not watered-down or bitter. Additionally, espresso requires a very fine grind to properly extract the full flavor of the coffee beans. Coffee beans should always be stored in an airtight container and ground fresh before each use. Brewing espresso with fresh, filtered water will further enhance the coffee’s flavor.
“Once brewed, the flavors of a good espresso blend can be enjoyed by the shot, but also blended with milk or water to create a variety of beverages,” says Kurtz. “For example, Cocoa Cappuccino is Starbucks newest espresso-based beverage that combines fresh espresso with bittersweet mocha sauce, steamed milk and foam and topped with Starbucks signature mocha drizzle.”
Espresso-based beverages can also be made at home after mastering the art of brewing the perfect espresso shot. Commonly enjoyed beverages that can easily be crafted with the help of an espresso brewing machine include:
- Caffe latte: Extract one shot of espresso, combine with steamed milk in a 6- to 8-ounce cup and top with 1/4 inch of foamed milk.
- Cappuccino: Extract one shot of espresso and add to a 6- to 8-ounce cup. Top with half steamed milk and half foamed milk.
- Americano: Extract a shot of espresso and combine with hot water in a 6- to 8-ounce cup.
- Macchiato: Extract a shot of espresso and “mark” it with a small amount of foamed milk on the top.
To maintain the coffee flavor, it is best to use a single shot of espresso for a 6- to 8-ounce beverage and a double shot for a larger 12- to 16-ounce beverage.
For more information about Starbucks coffee and brewing, visit www.starbucks.com.