Have you ever wondered what makes an espresso blend coffee different from other types of coffee? Contrary to popular belief, the difference between espresso and regular coffee beans lies in the brewing and grinding methods, not the beans themselves. If a roaster labels a coffee as an espresso blend, it is simply a recommendation on how to prepare the coffee in order to best enjoy the flavors.
At Alpha Coffee, we want you to enjoy your coffee no matter which brewing method you prefer. Our handy guide will make you an espresso expert in no time. With this knowledge in hand, we encourage you to browse our wide selection of mouthwatering coffees available as an espresso grind to make your next brew one to remember.
Espresso is concentrated coffee served in a small mug or shot glass. An espresso machine works by forcing hot water at high pressures through finely-ground coffee beans. Espresso is also used as the base for specialty coffee drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites. Although it may look different, espresso is still coffee. It's just brewed in a different style.
You can use any coffee bean for an espresso. Most coffee drinkers prefer a dark roast due to its intense flavor, but if you prefer a light or medium roast, your espresso will still be delicious.
While espresso beans and coffee beans are the same, preparing coffee beans for espresso can create different flavors. Some of the main differences include:
When roasting beans with espresso in mind, producers will typically roast the beans for a longer time, even after the second crack, to create a deeper flavor. This long roasting period removes a lot of the acidity while releasing the internal oils of the coffee beans.
Generally, if a bag has an espresso label, the beans inside are a dark roast. Roasting the beans in this way creates espressos with a heavy, full feeling in the mouth. Each sip will be bursting with flavor and should leave you satisfied.
Sometimes it can be hard to find the flavor notes you like in a darker roast. This is why in our shops, we use a medium roast so the full-bodied, milk chocolate and hazelnut taste of Smooth Operator shines in our espresso-based drinks. As an added perk, medium roast beans are typically less oily than darker roasts, making machine maintenance less of a hassle.
During the brewing process, the espresso machine pushes hot water through tightly packed coffee grounds. This means that the beans must be ground very finely and consistently in order for the extraction process to yield the perfect espresso taste and viscosity.
The texture of espresso ground coffee often resembles sand in order to allow the right amount of water through.
Making espresso requires a specific brewing process. For authentic espresso, use an espresso machine or an Aeropress, as the high pressure will allow the water to travel through the grounds quickly. Although espresso produces a much smaller concentrated amount of coffee than other methods, it contains high levels of caffeine and incorporates well with steamed or frothed milk.
Due to having a different roasting and brewing process, the flavor of espresso is different from other coffees. Espresso typically has a richer, well-rounded flavor that is less acidic.
Alpha Coffee's wide selection of medium and dark blends such as our specialty blend Smooth Operator is perfect for espressos. Our flavorful blends will stand out as single espresso shots or blended into other coffee drinks. Try one of our blends as an espresso grind today!