the Past, Present & Future
~ Make Mine a Double Shot!
By Holly Harman & Terry Cosgrove
Have you ever wondered what makes that Latte or Cappuccino taste so
good? aWhat makes it go beyond that regular cup of drip coffee? Not
to knock drip coffee, I love it, but there’s just something
about getting a really good latte or cappuccino that tastes and feels
downright enjoyable and invigorating. That magic ingredient is espresso.
Espresso is a wonderful blend of highly concentrated flavors created
through a specialized coffee grinding and brewing process taking place
right in front of your eyes at the coffee bar. When coffee beans are
ground and brewed properly for espresso, what is created is a rich,
flavorful brew with a heart, body and a soul…or crema.
Crema is a creamy, rich, dark tan foam that floats
on top of the espresso. That’s where a lot of the magic ends
up after careful training, and concentrated hours of practice on the
part of the Barista. The Barista is the one you see mostly behind
the espresso machine, and sometimes exhibiting a little bit of “Mad-Scientist”
in their attempt to get the perfect grind, tamp (pressing down of
the grinds), and length of steaming time. All of these factors have
to come together in harmony in order for that perfect blend of flavors
to create that perfect “espresso shot”. If any one of
these factors is not expressed properly, the espresso will end up
bitter or weak, making it anything but enjoyable.
Approximately one and a half ounces of liquid all
together, the espresso “shot” rightly earns its name.
Because of the highly concentrated nature of the brewing, the ingredients
as well, are highly concentrated. Espresso ends up with almost double
the caffeine content per volume as regular drip coffee. But these
highly concentrated flavors lend themselves beautifully when creating
wonderful espresso-based coffee drinks such as the Latte, Cappuccino,
or Mocha Latte.
So now you know…what makes that drink taste
so darn good! Maybe knowing the magic that takes place behind the
scenes, you’ll appreciate it even more when you get that really
good espresso drink.
Barista – Make mine a double shot!
Holly Harman & Terry Cosgrove are owners of The Art of Coffee
a coffee shop and art gallery in Montross. Holly is an acclaimed watercolorist
now living on the Northern Neck after spending her formative years
in California art circles. Terry recently retired from a 30-year career
as a Navy photojournalist. In addition to supplying the perfect “espresso
shot” they are focused on painting and photographing the people
and places that make the Northern Neck such a wonderful place to live.