What Espresso Is And How It Was Invented
It is strong and vicious, overwhelming with its piercing smell, and equally bright in taste: espresso bursts into our life rapidly, like an express train rushing at full speed, and instantly fills it with a special meaning.
What is espresso, and why is it considered the benchmark for baristas’ work?
Espresso is a drink of Italian origin. It is characterized by extremely intense flavors contained within a small amount of liquid in a cup, equal to about one fl. oz. It is the most common type of coffee in Southern Europe – both in Italy itself and in neighboring Spain, Portugal, and Southern France. In addition, espresso is the basis for creating most of our favorite coffee drinks, including the Americano, cappuccino, latte, macchiato, mocha, flat white, etc.
To prepare espresso, near-boiling water (about 194°F) is sent at an 8-10 bar pressure through the finely ground coffee beans. As a result, we get a drink thicker in consistency than any other coffee brewed in different ways. In appearance and degree of density, espresso is similar to warm honey, and in taste, it is much richer than an Americano.
Now we will tell you why this is so. In a nutshell, espresso acquires these properties due to the high concentration of suspended and dissolved coffee particles, which occurs as a result of a unique brewing process under pressure.
The uniqueness of this drink is based on three phases of preparation. In the first phase, oil emulsion is extracted from the ground coffee. During the second phase, tiny solid particles of grains get into the drink, and in the third – bubbles of gas or foam. At the same time, such a suspension is perceived by our taste buds as creamy and sets the character of the consistency of the drink. In addition, oil droplets retain those aromatic compounds that are most often lost in other types of coffee.
At first glance, the technology for making espresso is very simple: you pour ground coffee into a special tank in the coffee machine, pour water into it, and press the “Start” button. However, this is easy when it comes to a home coffee machine. Working with professional equipment involves the need to take into account many nuances – a detailed description of them should be presented in a separate large article.
To prepare a really tasty espresso, a barista must be able to tune the coffee machine by adjusting the pressure and temperature of the water in time, clean it in a timely manner, carry out test runs, and feel the slightest nuances of taste. And, of course, a barista should carefully monitor the quality of grain and water.
And now we open a secret: espresso can determine the quality of the coffee bean used in the cafe, the smooth operation of the machine, and the talent of the barista. Indeed, in a cappuccino or latte, any taste flaws can be easily hidden behind syrup and other additives, and the espresso always remains as truthful as possible. Baristas believe that a person achieves true professionalism when his or her espresso is flawless.
Who invented espresso?
The world’s first coffee machine was almost as tall as a man and brewed several batches of the fragrant drink at once. The Italian engineer Angelo Moriondo invented it in 1884 in Turin. Without thinking twice, the Italian patented his invention. And he did the right thing because other inventors tried to create a similar apparatus, but they did not know to apply for patents for their inventions. And if they did so, today, in all schools of baristas, beginners would be told that we owe the appearance of espresso to other inventors, who were ahead of the Italian Moriondo by several decades.
Well, history would not permit such a development, and this is not so important for us now. The main thing is that in 1901 another Italian inventor, Luigi Bezzera, improved the Moriondo machine, also not forgetting to make a patent, which two years later was bought by the entrepreneur Desiderio Pavoni. It was then, one might say, that the real history of the coffee machine began. Pavoni began to produce these devices at a rate of one machine per day.
Who invented espresso, after all? This person is considered to be the Luigi mentioned earlier, who created a small coffee machine capable of preparing a drink, beloved by Italians, in a matter of seconds.
By the way, Bezzera’s brainchild underwent many changes in the future thanks to subsequent inventors, but that’s another story.
Myths about coffee & some more facts on espresso
Nevertheless, there are a lot of myths and facts about espresso that are not so widely known. Read on to get some information that will help you expose your erudition when it comes to espresso. We have collected real gems for you, so be patient when reading and remember them all:
- There is a myth that you cannot drink more than 2-3 cups of coffee per day without harming your health. But is it really so? In fact, there are numerous advantages for coffee drinkers. It is proven that drinking espresso reduces the risk of cancer, helps burn fat, and boosts your physical performance. Moreover, caffeine increases adrenaline and boosts your mental alertness allowing you to concentrate. Coffee is perfect in aim to prevent dementia and other similar diseases.
- Another myth about coffee is about the possibility of addiction to caffeine. People who consume a lot of coffee from time to time think that they cannot survive a day without a saving sip of caffeine. In fact, according to most authorities, caffeine is not on the list of addictive substances.
- Some people believe that caffeine increases the risk of diseases, significantly influencing heart rate. The truth is that consumption of espresso or any other coffee drink does not control cholesterol levels or other elements. The fact is there are some individuals whose bodies might be influenced by caffeine in a specific way. However, it could be explained the same way as allergic symptoms.
- And the final fact you definitely want to know is about the French Revolution, which would not even be possible without the help of coffee. If you want to learn more about this detail and other facts related to drinks that influenced the world’s history, you should read “A History of the World in 6 Glasses” by Tom Standage.
We hope you enjoy your espresso!