Happy National Espresso Day (23 November)


Happy National Espresso Day (23 November)

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We get asked all the time, "do you have an espresso roast?" Well, the answer is wholeheartedly, YES! But that answer may not be what you're thinking. You see, each of our coffee varieties is an espresso roast. Because espresso is merely coffee expressed (pressed/extracted) under high pressure, expressly (quickly), and expressly (single-serving) for you! In other words, it's the method, not the bean.

But that's not to say the bean isn't important. You see, the very best espresso requires the very best coffee bean. And boy, oh boy! We've got some great coffee beans! Although a very dark roast is typical in many regions for "espresso roast", we think you'll really enjoy our Brown Shoe Blend (medium roast) in a cup of Old Salt espresso. You see, the characteristics of an espresso amplify the qualities of any coffee bean used.

An espresso contains 3 distinct components that contribute to its distinctive mouth feel, aroma, and taste. The mouth feel is smooth and creamy, largely imparted by the natural oils that are pressed into the cup. These oils also infuse the aroma of the bean. The thickness of an espresso, which many have likened to warm honey, is imparted by this oil component.

The next component is the suspended solids in the water. This is the most voluminous component, and is the "coffee" part of an espresso. You'll want to use filtered water for the best cup of espresso (and really, you'll want to use filtered water any time you want the very best cup of coffee). Much of the nuance of a good coffee comes out in this component. If you have too dark a roast or your coffee isn't fresh, however, this component can taste burnt and/or lack character.

The final component is the crema, or the foam on top. The foam evokes a sense of luxury. Its golden hue is reminiscent of honey. This layer adds that visual sense that you're drinking something special and unique. In a cafe style espresso beverage, this component is also used in the coffee art on top, as foamed milk has a white/lighter appearance.

We're sure you'd love any of our coffee varieties brewed as an espresso. If you're wondering what the "perfect" espresso recipe is, try this as a starting point:

For a basic espresso shot, use a 1:2 ratio of coffee to water - you'll want to use about 15g of coffee for a 30ml espresso. Tamp down the coffee into the filter cup to about 40lb. Percolation time from when hot water contacts the coffee until stopping the extraction should be about 25 seconds. Total volume in the cup should be 30ml. If the volume after 25 seconds is too low, adjust your tamping pressure next time so you don't compress the coffee as much. If it's too much volume, you can try tamping down a little more. And finally, you can adjust the extraction time or volume to get achieve specific espressos. For example, a ristreto uses a 1:1 ratio, and a lungo uses 1:4 ratio.

The goal should not be to have the strongest drink you can make, but to have a delicious, aromatic, beautiful, and full-bodied drink of coffee that you enjoy.

A note on caffeine: Many people believe that espresso is the highest caffeine content you can get in a coffee beverage. However, you might be surprised to know that due to the small volume in an espresso shot, the total amount of caffeine (about 65mg) is lower than a standard drip cup of coffee (150-200mg). So drink espresso for the enjoyment. And when you want to really wake up, you don't need to take the time to brew an espresso, as a simple cup of joe will do!

We recommend Brown Shoe Blend for the best espresso flavor. If you love a very dark espresso roast, we recommend Green Eyes. Also, you'll be better off buying whole bean, and then grinding it to a finer setting than our ground coffee. A burr grinder will produce a finer and more consistent grind than a blade grinder.

This National Espresso Day, we at Old Salt Coffee Company "Hoist our Mugs" of cappucino, flat whites, lattes, and macchiatos!