What is espresso?

Here at FreshGround, we want to educate everyone on coffee brewing techniques, coffee, and all the ins and outs of your favorite caffeinated drink! A common question we get is: what is espresso? Is it a process? Is it a type of bean? How do you get an espresso? And, more importantly, what is it not?

Espresso is not a type of bean

So… What Is Espresso?

The short answer is espresso is a strong, often thick coffee beverage with a layer of dense foam called crema made from water and coffee grounds that have been stressed at a high pressure with hot water through a basket of tightly packed, finely ground coffee for a limited amount of time. That being said, there is A LOT of confusion on what qualifies as “espresso.” Here are a few things it’s not:

Espresso is not: a type of bean. You can make espresso with any type of bean. A dark roast is often associated with espresso because when it first started gaining traction in the states, came from southern Italy, where they prefer a very dark roast. Ever since then marketers use the label “espresso beans” for specific dark roasts. (check out our post about dark roast coffee)

In reality, espresso can and is made with any level of roast and any kind of bean, but the traditional dark roast is not widely appreciated by American baristas or coffee drinkers alike. That’s why our Forte Espresso blend is a lovely medium-bodied blend made up of our sweeter coffees combined with some more full bodied ones to result in an espresso that is sweet and caramelly with just a hint of brightness. Aerobie Aeropress

Espresso is also not: the same as strong coffee. Strong coffee does not equal espresso! Strong coffee can be made from coffee devices like the Aeropress, which makes much stronger coffee than more popular devices in the U.S. like drip, pour over, or French press. All the mentioned do have some element of pressure involved but won’t give you an espresso experience like the Aeropress or an espresso machine.

So now you know! What kind of espresso do you like? Do you have any other questions about espresso? Comment below!

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Sarah Sill

Sarah Sill

Sarah is the Administrative Assistant and Marketing guru at FreshGround Roasting. Sarah where she talks about coffee, brewing methods, customer questions, and other awesome coffee related stuff!