espresso filling shot glassI (and many of us that love coffee) tend to become mesmerized by the beauty of a nicely-pulled espresso shot. I watch it slowly enter the shot glass, peer at the different layers, and anxiously wait for the barista to mix it into my drink. Have you ever wanted to become an expert on espresso? Now you can!

Espresso Dissected

Unlike brewed coffee, which is the result of gravity pushing water through the coffee grounds, espresso is the result of hot water being forced through finely ground coffee beans under a high amount of pressure. There are three key layers of an espresso shot.

The top layer is called the crema. It is the foamy, golden colored portion and is the most aromatic. The crema forms as a result of carbon dioxide being released when the espresso is extracted under pressure. The middle layer is called the body. It is a caramel brown color and contributes to the shot’s sweetness. The dark brown base layer is called the heart. The heart helps to balance out the sweetness and aromatic portions of the shot by tempering them with a little bitterness.

There are many factors that go into ensuring that espresso pulls correctly. The type of grind, the amount of pressure, and the time it takes to pull are only a few things to look out for. The end goal is an espresso shot that comes out smooth, even, and showing the three precise layers in an ideal amount of time.

Espresso Focused Drinks

Here at Hidden River Roasters, perfecting the espresso that goes into your cup is more than just a standard, it’s an art. We aim to provide you with quality espresso, extracted from fresh-roasted quality beans (we use our dark roast Costa Rica). Try ordering an espresso (two shots in a small cup), a traditional Macchiato (2 shots and 2 scoops foam), a Cortado (two shots and two ounces of steamed milk), or an Americano (two shots and hot water) to savor the taste of our espresso. We look forward to serving you!

Photo © Sarah Westendorf 2018