April 18, 2010

Quick hitter

Espresso is all about speed. That's why it was invented by an Italian factory owner -- to reduce the time his employees spent on coffee break by producing a shot that was both quick-to-brew and drink. It's also the key to a shot's quality. To little time, and the result is a watery and under-extracted brew -- caused by a too-course grind. Too long, and the opposite problems occur -- of course, the cause is opposite too. The experts disagree on an exact sweet spot, but generally speaking, it should take ~25 seconds to pull an optimal shot, complete with a rich caramely crema. Just about as long as it takes you to read this post. 


  1. I have never in my life had a shot of Espresso. I really don't understand the whole thing, I'd rather have a tasty drink with a shot in it than the shot just by itself.

  2. Espresso can be tasty on its own. The problem is, many blends use low quality robusta beans, because the espresso is hidden in milk. When that's the case, you're right that the result can still be quite delicious. But in order to truly be enjoyed on its own, the espresso has to be quality. Given that it's so much more concentrated that regular coffee, any off flavor or bitter notes are turned up even louder, thus sometimes resulting in a grimace inducing drink. It's also true that espresso is simply too intense for some tastes. That's fine. But trust me when I tell you, a shot can be candy sweet and delicious.