November 23rd has got to be one of our favourite days of the year! Why you ask? Because it’s National Espresso Day!
If you have been to our workshop you would have had one of our complimentary freshly ground coffees. They are legendary which we are sure you will agree with!
So what is Espresso?
Espresso is a thick, bold Italian-style coffee that has gotten its name thanks to the technology used to make the dark, rich brew, which is “pressed out” and tailor-made ‘pronto’ for its consumer.
Espresso, which is also the base ingredient for other popular coffee beverages such as cappuccino, café latte and macchiato, has come a long way since its invention in Italy sometime around the 1900s.
Anatomy of Espresso
Contrary to popular belief, espresso is not a specific bean or roast level. Any bean or roast level can be used to make espresso. What makes espresso is its brewing method, which is made by forcing pressurized hot water through finely-ground coffee to create a concentrated coffee topped with a delicate foam, called a crema.
The crema should be thin and foamy with a golden-brown and sometimes slightly reddish colour. The crema has a sweet flavour as it contains the espresso’s concentrated sugars and oils. The body is the middle layer and it is typically caramel-brown in colour. The bottom of an espresso, known as the heart, should have a deep brown tone. The heart contains the bitterness that provides a balance to the sweetness of the crema.
While there is no universal standard in how to make the perfect espresso, it is often thought that the quality of the ultimate espresso comes from the four Ms:
– Macinazione – correct grinding of the coffee bean
– Macchina – the espresso machine
– Miscela – the coffee blend
– Mano – the skilled hand of the person making the coffee
The Origins of Espresso
Espresso made its debut in Italy in the early 20th century although coffee was already very much a part of Italian life for centuries. Espresso lovers owe their thanks for the tasty brew to Italy’s Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing plant who wanted to speed up the time it took to make coffee. It’s unclear whether he was motivated to hasten the process by frustration over how long his morning coffee took or whether he wanted to speed up the time his employees took for their coffee breaks.
Regardless, Bezzera discovered that adding steam pressure to the process produced a stronger, more robust cup of coffee. This machine used in this new quick-brew process was named the Fast Coffee Machine. The beverage produced by the machine would eventually become known as espresso, which means fast in Italian. Regrettably, Bezzera wasn’t as talented at marketing and sales as he was at engineering. A few years later in 1905, Desidero Pavoni purchased the rights to the machine from Bezzera and had it patented. It is due to Pavoni’s marketing genius that espresso grew in popularity.
In the early 1940s, Achille Gaggia created a piston-based espresso machine that improved the taste by eliminating the burnt flavour and giving espresso a thicker consistency. Initially for professional use in coffee bars, the espresso machine gradually became available for use at home.
Espresso How To’s:
There are some rituals around drinking espresso. For starters, it’s important to use the right espresso cup. The maximum capacity should be two ounces or 60 ml. Make sure that it is filled only two-thirds of the way. If the cup is too large the espresso will cool down too quickly. The cup should be made of thick porcelain and it is recommended to preheat the cup before adding the espresso.
A good espresso should be able to hold a sprinkling of sugar on top of the crema for 30 seconds before sinking.
Some Italian coffee shops can serve up to 30 different types of espresso. Here’s a taste of a few:
- Caffe ristretto – a shot of creamy espresso that can sit anywhere from 1/2 inch to 1 inch in an espresso cup and has a strong flavour which may be too strong for some people.
- Caffe lungo – a more drinkable, longer coffee shot, known as a double shot in some regions.
- Caffe macchiato – a drop of milk is added to espresso coffee. The barman will then ask you if you want latte Caldo, hot milk or latte freddo, cold milk.
- Caffe e latte – espresso and milk in more or less equal parts minus the froth typical of a cappuccino.
- Affogato– a weaker coffee doused over ice cream that makes a delicious summer treat.
- Con panna– with whipped cream
- A 60-ml shot of espresso has about the same caffeine as a 180-ml (6 fluid ounces) cup of drip coffee.
- The serving temperature for espresso is 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71-degree Celsius).
- The ideal brewing time for one shot of espresso is 25 to 30 seconds
So let’s toast the rise of this complex and concentrated concoction with — what else? – a shot of espresso as we mark
Giorgio Express Auto Body Repairs is one of the most sophisticated panel shops in KwaZulu Natal. Our staff are highly qualified and experienced. Together with our state-of-the-art equipment, we are able to ensure that you and your vehicle are in good hands. We specialise in complex and intricate repairs, spray painting and polishing of the highest quality.
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