What To Do With A Basic Espresso Recipe



Many people have sipped a great cup of espresso coffee using a basic espresso recipe. This is something usually crafted from only one ounce of powerful grounds and topped with a dab or “crema” or simply a twist of lemon. The thing about a simple batch of espresso coffee is that it can be turned into a huge variety of delicious beverages.

While the basic espresso recipe calls for nothing more than espresso grounds, water, milk, sugar or lemon – and of course the proper pot or machine to make it. The addition of whipping cream, spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, chocolate, caramel and flavored syrups makes it much more. There are dozens of variations of a basic espresso recipe, and the most common are cappuccino, café latte, macchiato, and café au lait.

For this look at espresso, let’s begin with the “base” or the plain pot of espresso coffee. Whether this is going to be used for Caffe Freddo, which is simply iced espresso, or if it is going to be converted into a sweet and creamy treat such as Mochaccino, the entire goal of brewing espresso properly is to extract the coffee and leave the bitterness behind in the pot or machine.

It begins with the beans, and the best cups of espresso come from beans that are blended to make a strong, aromatic and yet smooth and sweet drink. Remember that espresso beans get their flavor due to the roasting process, and finding a roast that combines the flavors you prefer is going to be a process of trial and error. Once you find a brand or blend that works, just stick with it for all of your espresso recipes.

The next thing to consider is the grinding process. If you have your beans ground professionally it is unlikely that they will suffer heat damage during the process, but if you do this at home it might result in oil and flavor loss if your grinder heats the beans during the process. For this reason you should pay good attention to the way your grinder behaves and touch the chamber to see if the friction is heating the grounds.

Next, a good supply of cold and filtered water is necessary for espresso because water with “off” flavors such as those made by mineral deposits or chlorine can quickly spoil the taste of any type of coffee.

If you are making your espresso in a machine, you will have to get to know the right amount of tamping and pressure that is necessary for the best results, and if you are using a stove top “moka” pot, realize that you cannot get the desired “crema” from such a process.

Is one more preferable than the other? Usually a true espresso enthusiast will already know the method that gives them the results they want or need, but suffice it to say that those brewing espresso simply to enjoy the strong coffee and not the different variations will be happy with a moka, while those hoping to use espresso as a base for a wide array of recipes might want to invest in a modern espresso machine instead.

Back to top of What To Do With A Basic Espresso Recipe