What coffee to use for espresso?

what coffee to use for espresso

What is espresso?

The word espresso refers to the way the drink is made, ie the brewing method. The first step is to finely grind 7-10g beans, this is typically done directly into the espresso machine’s portafilter, after which it is lightly stamped to a solid mass. If you have an automatic  or fully automatic  espresso machine, the machine does this itself.

After stamping, put the portafilter back in the machine and start brewing. Now the machine pushes a mixture of hot water and steam through the solid mass, after which the espresso runs down into the cup. Due to the high pressure during brewing, you will be able to see a layer of dense “foam” on the surface. This is called crema, which is formed from the essential oils of coffee and which makes it incredibly creamy to drink. The quality of crema depends a lot on which coffee beans you use, but also whether the brewing has taken place correctly. If you have ground the coffee too coarsely or not stamped enough, you will also experience a smaller crema.

There are many suggestions on how much coffee beans to use to make espresso, but between 7-10 grams per cup is very normal. With some fully automatic espresso machines, it is possible to choose a higher dose, and thus get a more powerful coffee.

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coffee beans spread horizontally

The espresso "Golden Rules"

Brewing an espresso on a semi-automatic espresso machine requires a little practice and understanding of the factors that come into play, and therefore these rules of thumb are good to keep in mind.

Single shot: 30-45ml water is run through approx. 7 grams of ground coffee in 20-25 seconds
Double shot: 60-75ml water is run through approx. 14 grams of ground coffee in 20-25 seconds

What beans should I use?

There are countless coffee blends on the market, and basically you can use all types for brewing espresso. Common to all coffee blends on the market is that they consist of arabica, robusta or a mixture of the two. These are the two main types of coffee used in coffee production worldwide. Arabica and robusta are grown in the coffee-growing belt along the equator, and their characteristics change depending on the country of origin. 

espresso layers 1

What is espresso coffee?

Espresso coffee or espresso beans is a slightly misunderstood term, because in fact, coffee beans used for espresso are no different than regular coffee beans. As I said, espresso can be brewed from all types of coffee beans, regardless of the relationship between arabica and robusta or the roasting. Espresso is a brewing method and not a bean type – as long as the coffee is ground finely enough, it can be used for espresso.

Which coffee bean or coffee blend is used for espresso is clearly a matter of taste. Some people prefer dark roasted coffee with a blend of arabica and robusta, because it usually gives a stronger and more intense espresso, but a 100% arabica can also taste heavenly!

What drinks can I get out of espresso and my machine?

Espresso is in itself a fantastic cup of coffee, which can be varied in countless ways, and most famous are of course the milk drinks, which are served in the cafes – among others. cappuccino, latte and cortado.

Espresso Roast

Roasting Profile

Espresso grate for espresso brewing – filter grate for filter brewing

Always choose coffee beans according to the brewing method you want to use. An espresso-roasted bean has evolved further in the toasting process and in the caramelization. The beans appear dark brown and shiny with more body and bitter taste and almost no acid. Espresso coffee beans are roasted to suit brewing under pressure in an espresso machine. 

When making the traditional café drinks such as latte, cappuccino and macchiato, the espresso must also have a certain strength so that it does not disappear in the hot milk in terms of taste. 

You get that when you choose coffee beans that have been roasted for espresso brewing.

Coffee beans for slow brew – including french press , pour over and filter – roast shorter and lighter, thereby retaining more acidity and sweetness.

These are divided into a few subcategories.

Light roast: Mild taste and often many aromas, maybe even a little whiff of wheat or grain. The surface is light and completely oil-free.

Medium roast: Slightly stronger taste, and is the grate that is most often found in supermarkets. The beans are medium brown and have no visible oil on the surface.

Medium to dark roast: A more powerful and full-bodied taste, still sweet but also bitter. Here, oil will begin to appear on the surface of the beans.

In the vast majority of cases, it will appear from the packaging whether it is a bean that has been roasted for espresso use. If not listed, assume it is for filter brew.

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