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If you told coffee enthusiasts a few years ago that espresso would be available on the mass market they would have laughed. But it was only a matter of time before the caffeine-packed shot, originally intended for the harried worker, made its way to most major fast food retailers that serve coffee. Now it is available on almost every street corner!
Espresso has long had an air of being fancy, but really it is quite a simple concept. Grind fresh beans to the correct consistency, fill the portafilter, tamp it down, and let the machine do the rest of the work. The result is a rich, hot beverage meant to be sipped quickly before the crema coating on top (made up of emulsion from the oil in the coffee) dissipates.
Espresso also serves as the foundation on which many other familiar-sounding coffee beverages are based such as Cappuccino, Latte, and Americano, the latter of which is simply espresso with hot water added, forming a drink that is similar to a typical drip coffee, but vastly superior in quality. Our guide below will not only shed light on espresso, but also serves as an instructive guide to preparing this drink at home, and how to clean the machine afterwards!
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