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The Truth About Espresso

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What exactly is espresso?

Contrary to popular belief, there really is no such thing as an “espresso roast.” Espresso is also not a type of bean. Espresso is a beverage - delightful and delicious. Technically speaking, espresso itself is a type of finished coffee drink that is created by using high pressure to force nearly boiling water through finely ground coffee. This process produces about 2oz of coffee that consists of a much higher concentration of dissolved solids, or in other words, really strong, concentrated coffee. That “shot” of coffee is called espresso; the actual finished product, not the roast or the bean.

What is the history of espresso?

bezzera-modello-moyen.jpgEspresso was developed in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century by Luigi Bezzera of Milan who invented a method of making coffee with steam pressure. This method provided a quick way of making a single cup of coffee, "espressly" for one. The original Italian may have meant "pressed coffee", but the meaning also had the connotation of speed. It also means coffee made freshly in every sense of the word.

Does espresso have more caffeine than drip-brewed coffee?

Yes and no. Because of the concentrated form of espresso, you also have a concentrated level of caffeine. So the ratio of caffeine per volume is greater than that of regular drip-brewed coffee, but a double-shot is only 2 oz, and a standard cup of coffee is usually 8 oz. In total, 2oz espresso will actually have slightly less caffeine than an 8oz cup of coffee.

Can an espresso blend be used to brew standard drip coffee?

Absolutely. Remember, most espresso blends are created with espresso in mind, but they often work really well as a drip coffee too! So brew away!

Is it eXpresso or eSpresso?

There is a great amount of debate over whether the spelling expresso is incorrect or whether it is an acceptable variant. The spelling espresso is considered correct in most sources. The term expresso is called a less common variant in other sources.

Italy uses the term espresso, substituting most x letters in Latin root words with s; x is not considered part of the standard Italian alphabet. Italian people commonly refer to it simply as caffé (coffee), espresso being the ordinary coffee to order; in Spain, while café expreso is seen as the more "formal" denomination, café solo (alone, without milk) is the usual way to ask for it when at an espresso bar.

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