Beyond the Brew: What Is an Espresso?

Curious to know what espresso is the foundation of almost all coffee orders? Or intrigued by its distinct roast? If so, keep scrolling to uncover the secrets behind why espresso and why it’s the heart of many beloved beverages.

What exactly is espresso?

Espresso isn’t just any coffee; it’s a powerful shot that features in popular drinks like mochas and cappuccinos.

Contrary to popular belief, the term “espresso” isn’t about a specific type of coffee bean. It actually has more to do with the brewing process itself. Picture this: hot water being forced through finely ground coffee at a high pressure, this will yield a strong shot with a flavoursome crema on the top. What’s crema, you ask? It’s the velvety layer on the top of the espresso that helps to preserve the coffee’s aromatic essence.

You also may have noticed “espresso roast” labels, but what exactly is that? Well, as we said, the roast has nothing to do with the beans but more to do with the roasting process. An espresso roast often uses darker, richer beans that have been roasted for a longer period.

They’re also ground slightly coarser yet still fine to accommodate the extraction. So, remember next time that you sip a shot of coffee,
that it’s been through a perfected process before getting to you.

The history of espresso

Let’s take a step back to 19th-century Italy, where espresso was created. At this time, there was a surge of interest in coffee and espresso production was a direct response to Europe’s craving for flavoursome beverages.

But who invented espresso? Well, this is an ongoing debate. Initially, in 1884, Angelo Moriodo made a name for himself with the first steam-driven “instantaneous” coffee machine. He debuted it at the Turin Exposition an clinched a bronze medal for his hard work. However, fast-forward fifteen years and Luigi Bezzera steps onto the scene. Bezzera refined Moriordo’s machine and utilised steam pressure to swiftly brew espresso. Since then, the world of coffee and its machines have since plenty of innovation and are now a staple part of daily lives.

Let us know who you think earned the title of ‘inventor of espresso’.

What does the word espresso mean?

Just like the mystery surrounding the origin of espresso, the name can also spark some confusion. Originally, the brewed beverage was known as caffè espresso but over time it was shortened to simply “espresso”. This abbreviation led to people believing that it was linked to the word “express” because it is so quick to make. However, there’s more to the story.

In fact, the word “espresso” has roots in the Italian verb “esprimere,” meaning “to press out.” So while people are quick to think it has to do with preparation time, the name actually stems from the extraction method.

Top tip: If you want to impress your barista, make sure you pronounce it as ess-press-oh and not as ex-pres-oh.

What is an espresso

Brew like a pro: how to make espresso

Feel inspired to kick-start your brewing journey? Well, all you need is a trusty brewing machine. Whether you enjoy the classic style of an espresso machine, the convenience of a perfectly measured espresso coffee pod, or the portability of an AeroPress or moka pot, we’ve got you covered.

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