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Just Ask Episode 3: What is espresso?

Small but powerful. An accurate description for the tiny little coffee beverage that’s low in calories, packed with antioxidants and loaded with caffeine. A shot of espresso is a compact, highly concentrated, velvety form of coffee. But how is it made?

The preparation of espresso is what distinguishes it from regular coffee. While the brewing of drip coffee requires a bit of time so that hot water can filter through ground coffee beans, the making of an espresso shot utilizes an accelerated, more intense method. Boiling water is shot through finely ground coffee beans packed tightly together (optimal for a fast infusion). The result is a caffeine-packed, dense, rich and aromatic specialty beverage.

There are numerous variables that affect proper espresso extraction: coffee selection and amount, grind size, tamp pressure, water temperature, extraction time and even humidity levels. 

Your properly extracted shot should present a three-phase color process. For a split second, the espresso is black, then caramel colored before finishing with a layer of foam known as the “crema.” Sounds delicious, right?

Check out the video below where HYB co-owner Lori demonstrates the making of an espresso shot with the help of a seasoned HYB barista.



Have a question that you’d like to see addressed in a video like this one? Email us at sarah@howyoubrewin.com.