Espresso 101

The name espresso is Italian in origin. It was first coined around 1900 and, loosely translated, means a cup of coffee brewed expressly (just) for you. So, what makes a true espresso? It's not the bean. It's not the blend. It's not the roast. It's not that it has to be made by a certain kind of machine. The fact is, you can use any type of bean, blend and roast, it just depends on your personal tastes. What makes espresso is the way the coffee is prepared. Espresso coffee is a small (1 to 2 oz.) shot of pressure-brewed coffee, using about 1 Tablespoon of finely ground coffee. Brewing takes about 25 to 30 seconds.

  • In the beginning

    Legend has it; coffee was discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi. One day, he noticed his goats frolicking around in an unusually spirited manner. He observed that they were also eating the berries of a nearby shrub. Not being one to be left out of all the fun, he decided to try the berries himself. He was energized and pleased with the effects the cherries had on him. He told his friends and soon word spread throughout the region. The rest is history.

  • The bean

    While there are many species of coffee plant grown throughout the world the majority of coffee cultivation center on two; Arabica and Canephora or Robusta. Arabica plants grown primarily at higher elevations, take longer to mature and produce the higher quality product in terms of taste. Robusta plants thrive at lower altitudes, are easier to cultivate but yield a lesser quality coffee. Robusta coffee is used primarily for canned and instant coffees.

  • Espresso

    Many of our beverages begin with Espresso. Espresso, Italian for "fast", is used to describe coffee preparation. Espresso coffee is made through pressure brewing rather than more common drip or gravity brewing. "Pulling" a perfect shot of Espresso is arrived at by pressure injection of water heated to precise levels through coffee ground expressly for that purpose and done within a very precise amount of time. An Espresso that takes too long to pull will be overly strong while an Espresso pulled too quickly will be too weak. It's all about getting that perfect shot!