Tell me about espresso


 

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Gold Member
I've never been much for Starbucks. An ice coffee or a caramel machiato was about all I ever ordered, on the few times I visited.

But I've become curious about espresso. My first thought, it was heavy with caffeine. But I read a shot of espresso has less caffeine than a cup of regular coffee. ( and I've just learned that " caffeine " violates the rule of English ... " I before E , except after C "

What's the appeal ?

How is it served at Starbucks ? How do you order ?
 

MichaelLC

TVWBB Fan
Espresso is both a type of roasting method and a drink.

Like you could make "an espresso" with Folgers, but it would be bad news. Need to roast and grind them a certain way (darker roast and finer grind), and then prepare them differently than drip coffee.

An espresso shot is only .75oz - compared to a 6oz, 12oz, 64oz of drip or French Press coffee. It's meant to basically be "slammed" quickly, not sipped. Generally you'd drink one to three shots and that's it. Of course some drink a lot more.
  • Ordering a single shot of espresso will get you .75oz in a cup.
  • Latte is a shot of espresso with hot and foamed milk added. Even a medium/Grande is only one shot, so not much espresso in a lot of milk.
  • Cappuccino is the same, but less hot milk and more foam.
  • Espresso con panna is espresso with cream on top.
  • An espresso/cafe macchiato is just espresso and foamed milk. I like this one. Be sure to ask for an "espresso" or "cafe" macchiato, otherwise you might get another caramel macchiato.
Lattes are good, you can usually get oat or soy or other fake milks if you need to. Would recommend only getting a tall or grande, or add an extra shot. Or go for one of the holiday ones or a mocha if you want it very sweet.

Cappuccinos are kind of a good middle ground where you're not just drinking a cup of hot milk.

As for the appeal of espresso - it's a fast caffeine delivery system. Appeal of Starbucks, 🤷‍♂️ .
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Espresso is to be savored. I see people slamming espresso like tequila. I guess they've clearly never been to Italy and have not immersed themselves in the "culture" we Italians love.
First, Espresso roast is NOT a dark or French roast. It is typically a more moderate (AKA medium) roast. (Get some Lavazza coffee either preground for Espresso or in bean form and grind your own as I do). The grind is VERY fine. Nearly powder like. This is because water vapor is forced through it at higher pressure than the simple "pour over" of hot water
You can buy very fancy and expensive machines or you can do as I do and buy a nice little stove top one like this one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000CF3Q6/?tag=tvwb-20 (mine goes back to the late 50's when my uncle Mike emigrated from Naples and brought a bunch with him for the entire family)
Espresso is served black (no creamer allowed here) in small cups. Typically a twist of lemon zest on the side, a bottle of Sambuca, Anisette or Grappa alongside. Also sugar (not mamby pamby "sweeteners")....................sugar.
One twists the lemon zest over the coffee while piping hot, sweetens it to taste and puts a little splash of the aforementioned liquor in. Now one savors it slowly, in good conversation or while watching life go by on the street. THIS is the true essence of what espresso is. Not slamming shots from some fru fru shop like Starbucks.............................YUK!
 

Rich G

TVWBB Diamond Member
Lynn, espresso can be an entirely all consuming rabbit hole (depending on your level of obsessiveness with coffee.....) Uber espresso nerds will spend lots of money on home machines, and almost as much as the perfect grinder. They will then seek out the perfect beans, and through trial/error, they will find the perfect grind level, the perfect amount of grounds per shot, the perfect tamping pressure for the grounds in the espresso basket, and, finally, the perfect pressure and time to pull each shot to maximize the flavors of that particular coffee.

I'm assuming you don't want to do any of that..... :) One thing I would HEARTILY suggest is that you find somewhere to experience espresso that is NOT Starbucks. I've had the espresso that their auto machines produce, and I find it over extracted, bitter, and thin. I'm not sure where to point you in OK City, but there must be somewhere!

Full disclosure, I'm a coffee nerd. :)

R
 

Rich G

TVWBB Diamond Member
Ok.....a few keystrokes point me (you) to Elemental, and Coffee Slingers as purveyors of some good espresso on OKC.
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB All-Star
We gave up coffee 10 years ago now and only drink espresso based drinks.

My go to is a 3-4 shot latte made with 2% hot milk. No foam, ever, as it gets in the way My next go to is a mocha, either hot or cold.

If it’s cold, I’ll add an extra shot to overcome the ice watering down the espresso flavor. We use only Ghirardelli chocolate syrup and I prefer unsweetened almond milk on the cold mochas.

This all started when we experienced a Nespresso demo in Williams Sonoma housewares store. The crema that the Nespresso machine produced and how it extracted a shot made for a very satisfying and convenient shot. This was the easiest, fastest and most convenient way for us to make high quality and consistent espresso. We were hooked.

Fast forward now ten years and we have a very full selection of pods to use in the Nespresso machine. My fave these days is Illy. OMG their espresso is near perfection every time.

The Nespresso machine saves us from going to coffee chains and overspending on what is basically a milk drink. And we have a few insulated cups for taking our drinks in the car and to work. I can sip my morning latte for a good 30 minutes at work at it remains super hot.

Check out one of these machines if you can. It was our turning point.
 
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LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
All that fru fru stuff with milk and all............................That is NOT espresso :D Believe what Tim and I tell you. Yes you are now finding some of that fru fru crap in Italy now thanks to tourists going there and asking for it. But it ain't espresso
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
What's the appeal ?

How is it served at Starbucks ? How do you order ?
For the last questions, just go to the counter and tell the person you'd like to try an espresso but haven't had one before. They should be able to guide you.

As for the appeal, it's a very bold and aromatic drink. While the hipsters may think it's best to shoot it like tequila (which to me just means you're drinking poor quality tequila) I have to go with @LMichaels -- it's best savored slowly, a sip at a time.

If you'd like to ease your way into espresso, you might start with an Americano. It's literally espresso watered down to approximate a regular cup of coffee in strength. I stumbled into it once when I stopped for a coffee just before the coffee shop closed. They already had the coffee maker cleaned so he offered me an Americano instead. It was okay. Slightly different flavor than regular coffee. Since they dilute the espresso with water, in theory at least, you could ease your way to espresso by asking for less and less water as you go.

I found this Tom Scott video an interesting exploration of different varieties of coffee. Tom went into it thinking he didn't like coffee and came away anxious to explore the complex world of coffee.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Olympian
I just got a new Moka pot and, have not used it yet! Maybe this afternoon…I do have a bottle of Sambuca down in the cupboard and can of LaVazza needing to be used!
(Sorry Larry, no sugar for me.)
 

Rick Poch

TVWBB Super Fan
Espresso is to be savored. I see people slamming espresso like tequila. I guess they've clearly never been to Italy and have not immersed themselves in the "culture" we Italians love.
First, Espresso roast is NOT a dark or French roast. It is typically a more moderate (AKA medium) roast. (Get some Lavazza coffee either preground for Espresso or in bean form and grind your own as I do). The grind is VERY fine. Nearly powder like. This is because water vapor is forced through it at higher pressure than the simple "pour over" of hot water
You can buy very fancy and expensive machines or you can do as I do and buy a nice little stove top one like this one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000CF3Q6/?tag=tvwb-20 (mine goes back to the late 50's when my uncle Mike emigrated from Naples and brought a bunch with him for the entire family)
Espresso is served black (no creamer allowed here) in small cups. Typically a twist of lemon zest on the side, a bottle of Sambuca, Anisette or Grappa alongside. Also sugar (not mamby pamby "sweeteners")....................sugar.
One twists the lemon zest over the coffee while piping hot, sweetens it to taste and puts a little splash of the aforementioned liquor in. Now one savors it slowly, in good conversation or while watching life go by on the street. THIS is the true essence of what espresso is. Not slamming shots from some fru fru shop like Starbucks.............................YUK!
I lived in Naples, Italy for 4 years, drank gallons of espresso over there.
This post is spot-on.
 

DanHoo

TVWBB Wizard
I just got a new Moka pot and, have not used it yet! Maybe this afternoon…I do have a bottle of Sambuca down in the cupboard and can of LaVazza needing to be used!
(Sorry Larry, no sugar for me.)
my .02 Follow the break-in and cleaning instructions on the Moka,

 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Olympian
Thanks Dan, I will go through that again though I did give it a serious soda/water cleaning when I got it through the door but, have not “seasoned” with the partial coffee tip.
 

GrantT

TVWBB Super Fan
We love our espresso...,my setup at home. Fell in love with espresso (and also a great cappuccino) on a trip to Cuba where I spent every moment I could in the cigar and espresso bars...don't think I slept in 14 days.

Came home and went down the espresso rabbit hole.

A great espresso can be anything from a blueberry or cherry bomb, lightly citrus and floral, or deep smokey and chocolate. So much variety. Some are amazing and need to be savored, and some can be harsh, but then go amazingly well cut with a well done milk or cream. I love a great Americano as well.

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Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Olympian
Don't be sorry. It's totally optional. I only mentioned it because they don't use chemical crap
I get you, thanks pal.
I miss visiting with a friend of long standing who used to pull a great cup from her “La Pavoni” she is still around but, not as close as she used to be. Geographically that is.
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
We love our espresso...,my setup at home.
I love the presence of the digital scale. I used to always weigh the coffee for my AeroPress at work. The people sitting around me thought I was a bit crazy, but being thought eccentric was worth it to not have to drink the sludge served there.

BTW, the AeroPress is a cheaper way to get close to espresso at home. It's definitely not the same thing since it doesn't use steam, but it will brew an approximation without you having to spend $hundreds on an espresso machine.
 

 

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