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Espresso: The Basic Unit of Coffee Creation

Coffee shops are popping up all over the world as more and more consumers discover the incredible power and delicious flavor of the myriad coffee beverages available. The basic unit of this wide variety of beverages, however, is almost always a single shot of espresso. Espresso is an important part of coffee culture, and those who plan on opening a coffee shop must understand the history, preparation, and use of this tiny shot of super strong coffee.

What is Espresso?

Espresso is simply a form of coffee that is brewed very strongly and very quickly. Espresso is an Italian word, and this coffee form comes from the European continent. There, espresso is consumed more than any other coffee beverage.

How is Espresso Made?

Espresso is made from coffee beans that have been roasted until they are quite dark. Some coffee experts believe that a specific type of coffee bean must be used to create the perfect espresso shot, but any dark roasted coffee bean can be used for making espresso. The trick is not necessarily in the bean, but in the method of preparation. Drip coffee involves the prolonged trickle of hot water over coarsely ground coffee beans. With espresso, on the other hand, superfine coffee grounds are put in a small, tightly packed reservoir. Then, boiling hot water is pressed very quickly through the packed coffee before being forced through a series of tiny holes in a metal filter. The result is a small shot of extra strong coffee with a caramel-colored foam, known as "crema," floating on the top.

What Can You Do With Espresso?

One of the main reasons why espresso is such a necessary part of any successful coffee shop is the incredible versatility of this coffee brew. Because espresso is so strong and potent, it takes very little of the liquid to impart a strong coffee flavor, as well as a huge dose of caffeine, to any coffee beverage. You can mix a single shot of coffee with a cupful of steamed milk to create a latte, which is one of the most popular beverages at a coffee shop. Lattes are smooth and creamy, and they can be flavored with syrups and other mix-ins to cut some of the strong coffee flavor.

Espresso is also used to make a classic coffee shop concoction known as a cappuccino. Cappuccinos, like lattes, are made with steamed milk and espresso. With a cappuccino, however, the milk is frothed with high powered steam. This foam is mixed with the espresso to create a drier and stronger coffee beverage. Espresso is also used to make iced coffee and frozen coffee beverages. Because espresso shots are very small in liquid volume, they can be added to iced milk without causing the ice to melt. You can add a shot of espresso and a variety of flavors to a glass of milk and ice to create any number of delicious concoctions.

If you plan on opening a coffee shop, you will need to familiarize yourself with the versatility of espresso. This tiny beverage can exponentially increase the number of drinks you are able to offer to customers, and the rich, gourmet flavor of espresso will thrill customers and give your store a high quality reputation.