Secrets of Italian baristas - what coffee is best for espresso?

Espresso - small but devilishly strong coffee

It has a shade of deep brown, but at the same time it should be covered with a light layer of crema. For many people, it is a mandatory element of the morning, and some even consider it synonymous with coffee (in many regions of Italy, espresso is ordered simply by saying "un caffè").

Procedure for making espresso

The procedure for making espresso is seemingly very simple. However, experts can find hidden notes and aromas in this small coffee.

How to choose the best coffee for making espresso?

Today we will try to explain how to choose the best coffee for making espresso.

Espresso tailored to your preferences

Seasoned coffee drinkers are a bit like sommeliers. They look at the grains and assess their color, texture and shine. They analyze the smell of coffee - both during grinding and after preparation in the coffee machine. Of course, they also enjoy the taste and look for exotic notes in it.

Espresso has a whole range of flavors. It can often be surprisingly sour. Other times it gives a very light but distinct fruity aftertaste. Seasoned coffee lovers often create their own blends - tailored to their preferences.

However, it is worth starting your adventure with making espresso with the beans that baristas most often recommend for this type of coffee.

Where should espresso coffee come from?

Many coffee lovers will say that espresso beans should only come from Italy. After all, this variety of coffee was born in Italy.

Here the matter is much more complicated. First of all, coffee does not grow on the Italian Peninsula. Coffee bushes are grown in Africa, South America and in some regions of Asia - for example, Indonesia.

However, the coffee can most likely come from an Italian roastery. And if we want to drink the kind of coffee served in small pubs in Florence, it is actually worth reaching for blends created in this country.

What beans to use for espresso?

  • Arabica - a species that is more demanding in cultivation, but also produces a much stronger essence. Coffee made from pure Arabica will have balanced acidity and a slightly noticeable aftertaste of sweetness.
  • Robusta - a lowland variety of coffee. Its taste is very distinctly bitter.

In Italy we can find many different blends in all possible degrees of roasting. However, many restaurants and cafes serve coffee from Arabica and Robusta beans in a one-to-one ratio.

What roast level is best for espresso?

Many Italian blends are fired very strongly. The process produces dark, almost charred grains. Espresso made from such coffee will have a greater dose of bitterness.

Interestingly, many baristas recommend grains processed contrary to the Italian tradition for small Italian coffee. Medium roasts produce much lighter beans. At the same time, the taste will be less bitter, but there will be a greater chance of slightly noticeable sweetness and fruity notes.

You can always experiment, but many experts advise against using light roasted beans for espresso. These types of mixtures are not created with espresso machines in mind. They are intended for more alternative brewing methods - for example in an Aeropress or drip.

How does the coffee machine affect the taste of coffee?

Remember that the taste of coffee is the result of many different factors. The variety of coffee and the degree of roasting of the beans are, of course, key factors. At the same time, however, we must bear in mind that the perfect espresso cannot be obtained without a high-quality coffee machine. A pressure device is necessary.


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