I fit the Seattle stereo-type through and through. I love coffee. In the morning, afternoon, evening and well into the night I enjoy this jitter inducing, sleep-preventing, delicious drug.
I love coffee’s smoky complexity. It fascinates me that one roasters bean tastes of citrus and berries while another’s interpretation brings out hints of chocolate and tobacco. Coffee enthusiasts are a passionate bunch and I am always learning from and being entertained by their continuous debates.
A good cup of coffee is the first thing I want in the morning. The thought of slowly sipping on a hot cup of the black gold is often what encourages me to actually get out of bed. And in the evening when the two little punkens are tightly tucked into bed and the house is in its rare silent state, we will often fire up one of our five brewing systems to create the perfect cup to end a good day.
Yes that’s right. Five brewing systems. Pretty sure I have now just “outed” myself as a coffee nerd. I blame my husband who is much nerdier then I. It wasn’t long ago that he wouldn’t touch the stuff. That all changed when he traveled to Guatemala to photograph the production process – from bean to cup – on the family farm of a good friend. Since that point he’s been collecting geeky coffee paraphernalia like this drip Kettle by Hario.
I love it. I think his fastidiousness is hot.
Our five brewing methods:
4. Italian Stove-top – the way the nuns made it for me when I lived in Italy
Each morning we ask each other “do you want coffee?” If the other responds “no” then we know something is terribly wrong. If Gabe is brewing he will often go with the Hario Dripper (similar to the Melitta – which is very portable). If I am in charge of the coffee making then I turn to Ms. Silvia who produces silky foam and a luscious shot with a nice thick crema.
So since I am the one writing this post from here on out I will be focusing on espresso. By the end of these posts you will be one step closer to being the typical Seattle coffee snob.
In this multi-post lesson we will learn the classic Espresso Drinks – as some large coffee companies, who shall remain nameless – may have tainted our understanding of true espresso beverages.
Tonight we will study two drinks because if we do much more of that I won’t sleep at all.
1. Classic Espresso – is made by forcing hot water though finely ground coffee beans – often dark-roast. Single shots are 1 – 1.5 ounces. Double shots are 2 – 2.5 ounces. All espresso should take 20-25 seconds to brew. A well pulled shot will should produce a fine layer of foam known as crema.
Besides single and double there are a couple of different types of shots.
1a. Ristretto – or “short” shot. This is a smaller shot (double – 1 – 1.5 ounces) that gives you a higher ratio of flavorful coffee oils to caffeine. You end up with a richer, bolder shot with more body. Ristrettos are often preferred by coffee lovers – some of my favorite coffee shops in town only pull Ristrettos.
There are a few ways of pulling a Ristretto – the most common way is to simply stop the extraction early so that less water passes through the coffee.
2a. Lungo – is the Italian term for “long”. This shot allows for nearly twice as much water to pass through taking up to a minute to pull. This is not the same as an Americano (espresso and hot water). A Lungo is not as strong as a regular shot but is more bitter as some of the coffee components that are typically undissolved are extracted in this extended shot.
2. Caffe Macchiato - Literally means “espresso marked with milk”. This drink simply is a shot of espresso dotted with a touch of milk or velvety foam. Everyone’s definition of how much milk should be involved is a bit different. The general ratio is 80:20.
All right. Class dismissed. Now I am going to go lie in bed. Awake. All night long. With the shakes. But in the name of coffee education – it is well worth it.
Here is more information from some real experts.
Espresso – Artazza