Really stupid newbie question...what makes it espresso?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
egghead

#1: Post by egghead »

I am just starting to learn about this stuff...I have my head spinning with the characteristics of the E61 right now. What make coffee espresso...is it the bean, or the roast, or both?

Thanks in advance for you patience, I am probably going to be asking a lot of newbie question in the next couple of months.

Mark08859

#2: Post by Mark08859 »

Actually, it is neither. Espresso is a brewing method. Very simply, relatively fine ground beans brewed under pressure. There is no such thing as an espresso bean. While many traditionalists may believe that beans should be dark roasted for an espresso, many roasters today will offer a range of roast times for their product. Therefore, it is possible to buy light roasts to very dark, almost burnt tasting roasts.

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HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB »

Not a stupid question at all! It's a common misconception that espresso = dark roasted. I admit to believing the same thing at one time (other true confessions in Hall of Shame: ''What I did when I was a newbie...'').
egghead wrote:Thanks in advance for you patience, I am probably going to be asking a lot of newbie question in the next couple of months.
As you found, there's a ton of information on the web. Jim's Home Barista's Guide to Espresso is a must-read; the Getting Started section of the site's Resources page offers background information that can be read in digestible chunks. Believe me, soon it will all make sense and you'll be the one answering "newbie" questions. :D
Dan Kehn

egghead

#4: Post by egghead »

Thanks for the replies. So, in my sights is a Vetrano Rotary, and a Macap M4. I am hoping to get them at the end of next month. Is there a type of bean/roast that I should be looking for when my new toys arrive, or it is strictly personal taste? Maybe a better way to ask is, is there a type that I should avoid?

Again, thanks for the help.

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another_jim
Team HB

#5: Post by another_jim »

egghead wrote:Is there a type of bean/roast that I should be looking for when my new toys arrive, or it is strictly personal taste? Maybe a better way to ask is, is there a type that I should avoid?
Depends on your personality. Some people like to start out with "kind hearted" espresso blends that leave margins for error but also reward skill (check this forum and the various other forums for the list of usual suspects). This way they can tune their skills knowing the coffee is appropriate. Others just jump in and try a shot of any coffee that catches their fancy. This will get you to your taste preference more quickly, but keep a tall glass of water handy. I prefer to do both, all sorts of coffee for taste; basic blends for technique.
Jim Schulman

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HB
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#6: Post by HB »

egghead wrote:Is there a type of bean/roast that I should be looking for when my new toys arrive, or it is strictly personal taste? Maybe a better way to ask is, is there a type that I should avoid?
Fresh is the key word. Truly fresh roasted means it's roasted no more than a few days ago.

Buying from your local grocery store or even a local cafe is hit and miss. Nowadays more and more people go for the convenience and reliably fresh roasted coffees online. Of course, the HB sponsors are among my top pics (Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters, Counter Culture Coffee, Caffe Fresco, Paradise Roasters). The threads Good coffees I've had recently and Forgiving beginner's coffees? are a few linked in the Coffee forum's FAQs and Favorites.
Dan Kehn

Climb14er

#7: Post by Climb14er »

egghead wrote:Thanks for the replies. So, in my sights is a Vetrano Rotary, and a Macap M4. I am hoping to get them at the end of next month. Is there a type of bean/roast that I should be looking for when my new toys arrive, or it is strictly personal taste? Maybe a better way to ask is, is there a type that I should avoid?

Again, thanks for the help.
I use an old Cremina and a new Macap MC4 and from the forum found Intelligentsia's Black Cat and I'm on my third bag the past month. There are others I'm going to try but ordering from Intelligentsia has been seamless and their espresso is really good! :wink:

ladalet

#8: Post by ladalet »

The Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano, http://www.espressoitaliano.org defines espresso as follows:

Necessary portion of ground coffee = 7 g ± 0,5
Exit temperature of water from the unit = 88°C ± 2°C
Temperature of the drink in the cup = 67°C ± 3°C
Entry water pressure = 9 bar ± 1
Percolation time = 25 seconds ± 2.5 seconds
Viscosity at = 45°C > 1.5 mPa s
Total fat = > 2 mg/ml
Caffeine = 100 mg/cup
Millilitres in the cup (including foam) = 25 ml ± 2.5
Lance Goffinet
LMWDP #019