What Kind of Coffee Is Espresso Coffee?

The first thing many individuals do in the morning is reach for that first satisfying serving of coffee. There are so many kinds of coffee to choose from and so many ways it can be prepared. In fact, a lot of creative coffee concoctions tempt people who are not typically java drinkers. True coffee connoisseurs, however, will probably scoff at the blend of light roast coffee mixed with a heaping portion of milk, sugar, and flavored syrup. If you are one of those coffee purists, you may be far more satisfied if you reach for an espresso.

You have probably at least heard of espresso. It tends to be dark, strong, and a bit on the thick side. Espresso provides drinkers with a delightfully rich and complex balance of taste and texture. Many people are not sure what kind of coffee espresso actually is, though. The answer to that question is, surprisingly, both easy and complex.

So, what kind of coffee is espresso coffee? The simple answer is that they are the same coffee. On the surface, coffee and espresso are much the same. All coffee beans come from either Arabica or Robusta trees, and all coffee beans need to be roasted and ground up prior to being transformed into a beverage. Arabica trees grow at higher altitudes and yield beans of significantly higher quality than Robusta trees. Thankfully, about 75 percent of all coffee comes from Arabica beans.

Compared to traditional drip coffee, espresso coffee is more finely ground. Espresso coffee needs to be crushed up better because it is brewed by forcing very hot water through the grounds. This pressurized brewing method means that espresso is brewed faster than other coffee drinks. The average portion of espresso (1 ounce to 2.5 ounces, typically) should be completed in approximately 25 to 30 seconds. Without finely ground beans, this quick brewing technique would produce a watery beverage. Since espresso grounds are about the consistency of flour, though, the water touches more surface area of the grounds and absorbs more flavor from them.

Some locations use the exact same beans for their drip coffee and their espresso coffee. Depending on the beans, this choice is just fine. Espresso is a very strong beverage, which means a low quality bean is easier to spot. Espresso should, of course, be made from Arabica beans. The higher altitude Arabica beans (milds) are ideal for espresso, and these beans should be at least a dark roast. This combination will produce a high quality cup of espresso that lacks a lot of acidity and has a sweeter end taste.

As with any crop, the quality and flavor of coffee beans can vary drastically for region to region, and even from season to season. For best results, many coffee providers tend to offer blends. Coffee blends contain beans from different areas and batches. These blends do not provide the same flavor as a pure batch of beans, but this technique does mean that coffee companies can offer a consistently good espresso drink year round, regardless of uncontrollable influences.

If you think that espresso only comes in unadorned, tiny servings, you are mistaken. While traditionally espresso is served without milk or cream, you should feel free to sweeten it with a little sugar. You can also have espresso with whipped cream, foam, or half and half. There are also blended espresso drinks that can satisfy your desire to mix things up a bit. A cappuccino is espresso mixed with steamed and frothed milk. A latte is a single shot of espresso mixed with several ounces of steamed milk. Either of these beverages can have a sprinkling of cinnamon or chocolate shavings on top.

As you can see, espresso can be a complex beverage, but it is just as delicious and diverse as your favorite cup of joe!