Picture this, you walk into a coffee shop, and you order your favorite type of mocha, latte, or whatever your preference. You know what flavor it is, but do you know what the most important part of that drink is? Well, that crucial element is known as espresso.
If you are a regular coffee drinker, you may know about both coffee and espresso. You may not, however, know what the differences between the two are. Also, you may not know what makes espresso unique. So, grab a mug of your favorite drink and read on.
Born in Arabia: Coffee History
Before espresso was invented, there was coffee. Coffee is a drink that is both rich in taste and history. It is made from the beans of the coffee fruit. The birthplace of the coffee we know and love is Arabia in the 13th century. This is where people began to roast the coffee beans, leading to the modern form of coffee that we know.
The roasting of the coffee beans gives an insight into the first step of making coffee. The roasted beans are then ground into a powder. If you are using a conventional coffee maker, the grounds are then placed in a filter. Then, hot water is pumped through the grounds and viola; your morning wake-up call is ready.
While the process of making coffee is mostly universal, there are several elements you can tweak to change the flavor. One of the biggest factors in taste is where the coffee beans come from. Today coffee beans can come from many places including Africa, South America, and even your own backyard.
The way the coffee beans are ground is also a key player in the coffee making process. There are various different levels of coarseness or fineness that the beans can be ground to. For example, for a French Press, using coarse ground coffee is more effective than finely ground coffee.
100 Years of Espresso
As squares are to rectangles, espresso is to coffee. Espresso is a specialized form of coffee that has only been around for a little over 100 years. Although it has not been around as long as regular coffee, the story of espresso is no less interesting.
The birth of espresso came, naturally, with the invention of the espresso machine. When it was introduced in the early 1900s, the espresso machine completely revolutionized the coffee industry. The world of lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos was unlocked. Regular coffee was still popular of course, but now there was a new player.
The use of the espresso machine is the source of the differences between espresso and coffee. While coffee is made with just grounds and hot water, the making of espresso is much more technical. This process is also why some say that espresso is the purest form of coffee, as well as the quickest to make.
How to Make Espresso
To make espresso, finely ground coffee beans are placed into the machine. Then, water that is almost boiling is pumped under pressure through the grounds. The result is a highly concentrated form of coffee. The flavor of espresso is so rich and robust because the pressurized water and steam combine with oils in the grounds to form a froth known as “crema.”
Not only does this process extract an extremely rich flavor, it also takes a short amount of time. The average time to brew a single shot of espresso is about 30 seconds. This is unbelievably fast compared to a drip brewer, which takes roughly 4-5 times as long to brew a single cup.
For many, espresso provides the perfect base for lattes, cappuccinos, and other beverages. These drinks normally contain a double shot of espresso, so you get the full flavor of the concentrated coffee, along with the steamed milk and other flavors. For those who are true coffee fanatics, you can order espresso by itself.
Wrapping Up: Difference Between Espresso and Coffee
First, there was coffee. Then, its hyperactive little brother espresso came along. Both coffee and espresso offer rich tastes and caffeine hits that have saved the lives of many college students. Whether you like regular French Press or you prefer a triple grande cappuccino, coffee in all forms is made to be enjoyed.
If you want to try espresso as is, make sure to sip slowly. Espresso wasn’t made to be downed in one go like Tequila (although you daring individuals might find this entertaining).
Last but not least, if you want to enjoy your cup of coffee even more, check out Emma Bridgewater Coffee Mugs!
Hi my name is Larry, a coffee aficionado from the US. I have already visited Colombia, Sumatra, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Jamaica in my pursuit of finding the best-tasting coffee beans. I currently write from Bali and enjoy the relaxed life that you can only find in Canggu. Welcome to my coffee world!