Coffee Myth #1: “Espresso Beans Are Different From Other Coffee Beans.”
Espresso is a method of preparing coffee that forces hot water through fine grounds at relatively high pressure (often around 9 times atmospheric pressure). You can make espresso from any type of coffee bean.
Some roasts and origins work better for espresso than others. Because espresso preparation produces a highly concentrated beverage, beans and roasts that are naturally more sour (such as very light or very short roasts) may produce an especially sour shot that some people don’t prefer. While there are ways of reducing the sourness (such as extra-long infusion times), many roasters advertise espresso roasts, espresso blends, espresso beans, etc., to indicate that they believe the coffee will taste especially good with conventional espresso preparation methods. That doesn’t mean you can’t make great-tasting regular coffee from the same beans, and you don’t have to have a designated espresso blend to make great espresso.
Coffee beans used for espresso are traditionally roasted to a medium-dark to provide a good compromise of sweetness, body, and flavor in espresso. If you’re new to drinking an espresso shot by itself, this might be a good place to start your adventure (something like our Sumatra beans, though we think you’ll come to enjoy lighter roasts as well). If you prefer milky espresso beverages (lattes, cappuccinos, cortados, etc.), the acidity of a lighter roast (like our Guatemala, Colombia, or even Ethiopia beans) may help the espresso flavor cut through the milk better.
Ask us about our different roasts the next time you visit, or see what’s currently available in our shop below. Remember in-town bean delivery is free, and we ship nationwide for $4. Freshly roasted beans are just a few clicks away!
Coffee Subscription (12 Oz Bags)$14.00
Roaster’s Choice (12 oz)$14.00
Burundi Jarama (12 Oz)$14.00
Colombia Jairo Arcila (12 Oz)$14.00
Peru Aromas del Valle (12 Oz)$14.00
Decaf Ethiopia Yebuna Terara (12 oz)$14.00
Stephen Montgomery-SmithAugust 20, 20214:31 pm
I make my espressos at home using a $100 15 bar de’Longhi machine. I really like my coffee strong and mellow – I dislike bitterness.
When I try espressos in coffee shops I find them to be far too bitter for me. I am looking forward to experiencing an espresso in Toasty-Goat when it is open, and seeing if it is different.
If I bought myself a more expensive home espresso machine, would that make a lot of difference to the experience?
Josiah BryanAugust 21, 202110:03 pm
Thanks so much for sharing, Stephen! Baristas are generally attempting to balance sourness (acidity) and bitterness, so that neither is overpowering. A wide variety of factors contribute to these two tastes, including brew time, temperature, pressure, ratio of grounds to water, dose size, tamping, particle size distribution, and more (not to mention bean origin, type, and roast profile, but these take place before you start brewing!). As you’ve probably found, light roasts are generally less bitter (and more acidic, sour, and fruity).
I hope you do enjoy our espresso, but either way, I think one of the best investments you can make for coffee equipment is a good grinder (like the Niche grinder or a Baratza grinder, or even a good hand-powered one, as long as it’s an adjustable burr grinder). This will allow you to adjust the grind setting to get more of the taste you prefer. Grinding coarser will typically result in a more acidic and less bitter taste; grinding finer does the opposite (grind size is one of the more significant factors in determining the extraction yield and overall taste of espresso and other brew methods). Different folks (and likewise coffee shops) prefer their espressos to be more on the light, acidic, and fruity/floral side (more modern espresso), or on the darker, more bitter, more chocolatey/earthy/nutty side (more traditional espresso). All this talk and I should probably write another blog post about it!
Feel free to reach out with any other questions you might have! I’m happy to talk through the different factors in espresso or to point you to some good resources on the subject.