WHAT MAKES A COFFEE WORK BETTER FOR ESPRESSO RATHER THAN OTHER BREWING METHODS?
There is a plethora of coffee brewing methods available to us, but in our opinion, the espresso is the best base, and if made correctly, it will provide the most consistent cup.
So what makes a coffee suitable for espresso brewing?
There are several factors to consider, most notably is the quality of the beans, the grind, the equipment, and the operator of the equipment - affectionately known as the barista.
This post will focus on the COFFEE: the choice of green bean, the roast profile and blending techniques. In a future blog post (coming soon) we will cover the elements to pouring a great espresso extraction: the grind, the dose and the pour.
Some coffees may just not fair well as an espresso coffee. This doesn't mean to say that they are substandard coffees, on the contrary, it just means that the bean might be too delicate for the harsh extraction of espresso and would be better left as a single origin and brewed in a french press or cold brew.
The same bean might be good as a filtered coffee, and an espresso, but usually not at the same roast profile. A roaster will probably try to develop the bean differently, perhaps developing the body or toning down the acidity to create a pleasant espresso.
Or the same bean may do well in a blend.
A roaster may look to create a blend for an espresso coffee to further develop the carmelisation and body. For instance, they may use a Colombian bean for body, a PNG for body and cocoa-fruity aromas, Brazil for their buttery nutty complexity, and Costa Rica for chocolate and sweetness (this is just an example).
There are two methods used to create a blend - either pre-roast or post-roast. With pre-roast blending the roaster will up mix the green beans in measured ratios and roast all the beans together within the same batch. Pre-roasting is more time-efficient and creates a consistent blend for commercial purposes.
Post-roast blending is used when a roaster chooses to roast each bean on it’s own and then mix up the roasted beans in the required ratios prior to packaging. Post-roast blending has certain benefits in that each of the beans in the blend is roasted to a profile that best suits the bean, the brew or the customer.
So what to look for when choosing a coffee to be brewed in an espresso machine? Look for body and balance, medium roasts are good and we think blends work best because of their complexity.
It’s all a bit overwhelming isn’t it! Talk to your roaster - we love to talk about coffee.
To help you out, here’s our favourite espresso blends:
And buy it as freshly roasted as possible. And Enjoy!