Culinary Lesson #33 - EspressoSaturday, August 27, 2016
As some of you might know, I cook at a local breakfast cafe; so naturally, coffee often takes the spotlight. I have the (dangerous) luxury of having quality coffee and espresso-based drinks at my hands, so I always took it for granted that the coffee's always there, and a latte can always be made for me whenever I want.
But then a few weeks ago my 'non-barista-educated mind' started thinking, "what exactly goes into making a latte"? I mean, I know that hot water passes through compressed coffee grounds in a short amount of time, but as far as any specifics, I'm lost. And specifics aside, what makes a latte a latte? Or a cappuccino a cappuccino?
It was time to do a little coffee research, which ultimately resulted in this post.
|Image from http://www.juaralife.com/.|
After watching an awesome episode of Good Eats on Netflix called 'Espresso Yourself', I learned right away about the specifics I was wondering about (thanks Alton!).
To make the perfect shot of espresso, "use 9 bars of pressure to push 200° F water through a 7 to 9 gram puck of perfectly ground coffee that's been compressed with approximately 40 pounds of force all within 25 seconds of brew time".
So there you have it. The type of coffee bean and grind, amount of pressure, water temperature, and brew time are all crucial. If just one of these variables is off, you'll end up with sub-par espresso, and that's just not good eats...
When it comes to the coffee bean, you can either use Arabica beans, which are generally a higher quality choice, or Robusta beans, which are usually used in large batches due to their abundance. Beans are roasted to 400° F, and then taken off the heat at just the right time. The four general types of roasts include:
- Light or "cinnamon" roast
- Medium or "city" roast
- Dark or "full city" roast
- Very dark or "espresso" roast
|Image from http://lcliving.ca/guide-to-coffee/.|