Espresso 101

Espresso 101

Producing a flawless shot
Posted on August 11th 2014 by Maddie

Espresso is simply a method of brewing coffee. There are many carefully formulated espresso blends geared at producing a flawless shot.

This perfect shot then makes up the base for all your favourite café drinks; Lattes, Cappuccinos, Americanos… So, the consistency and flavour of espresso shots is super important, especially when considering they have to be able to hold up in milk or hot water.

Derived from the Italian word, ‘to put under pressure’. A properly brewed shot of espresso is a delicious, concentrated coffee with great taste and a persistent palate. A flawless espresso should leave a balanced, lingering, aftertaste that’s free from sharp sourness or bitterness.

There is an assumption that espresso beans are a particular type of green bean cultivated strictly for espresso. That’s not the case. The same green beans are used but roasted specifically to produce a well-rounded taste profile.

Great espresso is dependent upon disciplined espresso brewing and a great espresso bean blend. In this entry, we are just going to focus on the basics, the beans. And, why Kicking Horse® Coffee recommends our Cliff Hanger Espresso. Because ultimately this could make or break your shot.

Cliff Hanger Espresso

Our Cliff Hanger Espresso is formulated to hit all areas of your palate with a complex, exceptionally smooth taste. From a bright start, to a fruity and cocoa middle and heavy caramel finish. You’ll find acidity, sweetness and body all packed in a single smooth shot.

It has beans from three of the world’s major coffee growing regions - Africa, Indonesia, and the Americas. This all contributes to the well rounded taste.

The Central and South American beans in the Cliff Hanger Espresso give that great acidity. That tip of the tongue sparkle, the cocoa brightness.

The Ethiopian beans we add gives a fruity, lively middle.

And the Indonesian beans will give you that heavy body that coats your tongue and lingers long after.

Why not a Dark Espresso

We don’t recommend using any of our dark roasts as an espresso.

In comparison, they won’t have the same acidity and will produce a bitter shot. Acidity is diminished during the roasting process. You won’t have as dynamic a shot as with a darker roast.  

Importance of Crema

The oils in the beans are fats that emerge during the roasting process. They contribute to one of the key components to great espresso, ‘crema’. This is the tiger-red coloured foam crowning the top of a well-prepared espresso.

Crema consists of gas bubbles suspended in a liquid film that has high surface tension between water molecules. It is formed when emulsified coffee oils are released and come into contact with oxygen.

You want the crema to be 10% of the shot. The crema is like the fat on bacon. Super important.

The many other variables that can effect an espresso shot are water quality, grind size, equipment, and extraction time. Tons of factors that influence your shot.

Try it in an espresso machine or even as a French Press. This medium roast packs full on flavour!