Technique of the Week: Espressing

The term “espress” is derived from the Italian word for “express” since espresso is made expressly for and served immediately to the customer. As described by Italian food chemist Ernesto Illy, “The distinguishing sensory characteristics of Italian espresso include a rich body, a full fine aroma, and equilibrated bittersweet taste with an acidic note, and a pleasant lingering after-taste, exempt from unpleasant flavor defects."

Espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage of 2.5 ounces or less most often served in a demitasse cup. It is made on a specialized machine that forces hot water through finely ground coffee beans that have been compacted (tamped). It takes approximately 20-30 seconds to percolate the water through the tamped beans. Achieving a good shot of espresso is dependent on several key factors: the quality of the beans which should be dark roasted and finely ground; consistent tamping pressure; clean, preheated brewing equipment; and, good quality filtered water.