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ABOUT ESPRESSO

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Espresso is a very special beverage that has gradually become popular and favored by consumers in Vietnam since the second wave of coffee appeared. It is a concentrated type of coffee served in small cups, and also an essential base coffee for many other popular coffee drinks such as cappuccino, latte, americano and macchiato.


In Vietnam, espresso coffee is usually known as "machine coffee" to distinguish it from the traditional method of using a Phin filter to make coffee. But apart from the difference in brewing method, what is so special about espresso coffee that it is so attractive?

 

The Origin

The first espresso coffee machine was invented in 1884 by an Italian inventor named Angelo Moriondo. It was designed to brew coffee quickly and was patented in Turin.


Although Moriondo's invention was the first espresso machine to use both water and steam, there is not much information about Moriondo himself, and there is no original "Moriondo" machine to verify. Except for the patent. Therefore, Moriondo quietly entered history.


Over the next twenty years, many "improved" versions of Moriondo's invention appeared all over the world, overcoming the difficulty of controlling pressure when directly boiling water with fire, creating a steam pipe to release steam accumulated under the machine's boiler.


In 1903, Luigi Bezzera, an inventor from Milan, came up with an improved design that was patented.


In 1905, Desidero Pavoni bought this company and produced the first commercial espresso machine: the Ideale.


The first commercial espresso machine was made by La Pavoni. Source: Perfect Daily Grind.


The machine at that time was not capable of producing the 9-bar pressure like modern machines, so the resulting coffee would be similar to traditional coffee brewing methods (although faster).


In 1947, Gaggia invented the manual pump machine. It created more pressure on the coffee puck, extracting CO2 gas, oils in the coffee, forming a beautiful crema layer that you see in an espresso shot.


In 1948, the first industrial espresso machine by Gaggia was born, marking a significant turning point in the coffee industry. The invention of the espresso machine revolutionized coffee consumption and sparked the espresso revolution that followed.


The first Gaggia espresso machine: The Classic. Source: gaggia.com

The term "caffé espresso" roughly translates to "coffee pressed out quickly," referring only to coffee extracted by pushing a small amount of boiling water through finely ground coffee at a pressure of around 9 bars.


Espresso has become an icon and has created a coffee drinking culture in Italy. A cup of espresso is usually served quickly at the bar (also known as an espresso bar), consumed right on the spot with a few sips and then leaving.

 

What is Espresso?

"Espresso is a 25–35 ml beverage prepared from 7–9 grams of coffee through which clean water of 90.5-96.1ºC has been forced at 9–10 atmospheres of pressure, and where the grind of the coffee is such that the brew time is 20–30 seconds.”

According to the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)


Source: lamarzoccousa.com


In terms of appearance, an espresso coffee consists of two layers: the crema layer and the liquid layer.

Crema layer: formed by CO2 gas surrounded by water and oil. It has a bitter taste. Liquid layer: formed by the amount of dissolved solids, dissolved gas compounds, and even insoluble solids from the coffee grounds we use. It contributes to the aroma, taste, and mouthfeel when drinking.

When enjoying espresso coffee, we can swirl the cup so that the mixture inside blends and then taste it, or we can use a spoon to stir it before drinking.

 

Variations and Applications

For a typical espresso shot, we use a common brewing ratio of 1:2 (meaning 1g of coffee grounds yields 2ml of espresso).

By adjusting the brewing ratio more or less, we can create two variations of traditional espresso: Ristretto and Lungo.


  • Ristretto: also known as "Short Espresso." It is made similarly to traditional Espresso but with less water, typically the ratio is falling within the range of 1:1 to 1:1.5. Ristretto is described as very concentrated and suitable for those who prefer a strong coffee flavor.

  • Lungo: also known as "Long Espresso." A type of espresso but with more water, typically using a ratio of 1:3 or 1:4. It is described as being more diluted and easier to drink but with a bitter aftertaste.


These variations were created to meet the coffee preferences of each country that espresso is introduced to.

Nguồn: Otten Coffee


Espresso seems to have become a great foundation for creating and innovating many famous and beloved drinks around the world. Some prominent drinks that you have probably heard of are: Latte Cappuccino Flat White Americano Mocha Coffee...

Latte at iO Coffee


and there is much more, enough to see the strong influence of espresso coffee.

 

Espresso, the second wave and the third wave of coffee

As the second wave of coffee began, people started to pay more attention to the way of enjoying coffee as well as the quality and experience that coffee brings, rather than just as a way to consume caffeine.


From there, the culture of coffee appreciation has slowed down, and customers will spend time sitting at the bar, enjoying, chatting, or gossiping with baristas. As a result, coffee bars have become more vibrant and community-oriented.


This is a picture of a coffee shop from that time in Italy. Source: Specialcoffeeitaly.com.



The "Coffee Bar" gradually became a part of Italian people's life.

Source: barinedita.it, Pinterest


When the third wave of coffee arrived, the movement to produce high-quality coffee was focused, and coffee was viewed as a craft. All stages of a value chain from cultivation, processing, roasting and brewing have been invested and improved markedly over the years.


That leads to every espresso now becoming an interesting story. Customers begin to care more about the origin of the beans served, become more interested in the techniques of the roaster and barista, and enjoy the result of the entire supply chain, encapsulated in every sip of coffee.

 

Conclusion

Espresso coffee is an incredible transformation for the coffee industry. And iO Coffee appreciates that.


Therefore, we always pay special attention to the quality of each roast. In order to convey all the value, the relentless efforts of the farmers and primary processors of Vietnam.

Thank you for following and supporting the articles of iO Coffee. Hope today's topic will make you more interested in the world of coffee.


See you soon with another interesting topic next.

 

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