We’re with you. Coffee can be complicated. Between figuring out how a blend’s roast level affects taste, to learning how to store your beans properly, there are all kinds of coffee questions to keep you up at night. Today, we’d like to clarify a few common misconceptions about espresso.
Misconception #1: Espresso is a type of bean, blend or roast
Like a pour over or a French press, espresso is just another way to brew coffee. It’s made by forcing a small amount of hot water, under pressure, through very finely ground coffee beans. This process is called a “pull,” and it results in a 1-2oz. shot of full-bodied, bold espresso.
Misconception #2: You need a big, fancy machine to make espresso
Many espresso lovers get their fix with regular visits to specialty coffee shops, or by investing in an automated machine. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have a ton of money, or be Italian to make espresso. The truth is, there are a variety of simple, inexpensive devices in the market that allow the average joe to brew espresso at home. We love Bialetti’s Stovetop Moka Express, and AeroPress’s Aerobie Espresso Maker—both are good for traveling, easy to clean, and produce rich, smooth cups.
Misconception #3: Espresso is more bitter than drip coffee
If you’re using quality, fresh beans, your espresso should taste just as smooth as your favorite drip coffee. If you’re looking to make espresso at home, we’d recommend experimenting with Cameron’s Donut Shop, Woods & Water, Organic Sumatra or Velvet Moon. We prefer these roasts because they include naturally processed coffees, which inherently have a higher sugar content. These sweeter, fruitier coffees yield espresso that’s well-balanced and smooth, without any hints of bitterness.
Misconception #4: A shot of espresso has more caffeine than a traditional cup of coffee
Because it’s super-concentrated, espresso does have more caffeine per unit volume than regular drip coffee. At the same time, we consume the two beverages differently. We usually drink just 1-2ozs. of espresso at a time—about 60-100mg of caffeine. Our typical morning mug holds around 6-8oz. of drip coffee—about 64-120mg of caffeine. In reality, we get just about the same jolt from the two different brews.