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What is Espresso?
The word Espresso refers to two things: a beverage and a method of brewing.. Espresso is most often a blend of multiple coffees that are then roasted together. While roasted beans of any level can be brewed in the espresso method, the most common roast levels are dark. Brewing espresso requires a specialized machine that forces a small amount of hot water through finely ground beans to produce a concentrated beverage of about 1 fluid ounce. Though most people believe that espresso contains more caffeine than drip coffee, a single espresso shot has about half the caffeine of a typical 8 ounce cup of coffee.
A Brief History
The brewing of espresso is an Italian invention that dates back to the late 19th century. The earliest known reference to making coffee in this style is a patent registered in 1884 for a coffee machine that separately controlled the steam and water in brewing. It is regarded as the earliest invention of the espresso brewing method. Improvements were made to this invention during the early years of the 20th century, and the consumption of this beverage rose along with urbanization in Italy. In the 1950s, espresso became popular in the western United States,.. Not until the 1980s and '90s did gourmet coffee, including espresso, gain a strong footing in the United States with the emergence of Starbucks and other Seattle-based coffee roasters.
Popular Espresso Drinks
In the United States, the Latte has gained enormous popularity. Brewed espresso is poured in the bottom of the cup and then steamed milk and a small amount of foam is added to the top. Variations of this drink are many, made with different kinds of flavored syrups. The cappuccino is similar to a latte in that espresso is on the bottom, though a cappuccino has little or no steamed milk and considerably more foam. Additional popular espresso-based drinks include the macchiato (espresso "marked" with a small amount of milk on top), Americano (espresso diluted with hot water), and Cubano (a shot of espresso taken with sugar).
Straight espresso is most commonly drunk in non-chain coffee shops and quality restaurants where the quality of the coffee is high, and the coffee actually tastes good without additional flavoring.
The quality of an espresso relies heavily on the brewing process and freshness of the beans. It is recommended to grind the beans immediately before drawing the shots of espresso for the best results. While espresso may be brewed at home using specialized machines, most often it is made by a trained barista
(Italian for bartender) in a coffee shop.