4 tips for the best espresso

Espresso is a great beverage to pair with baking and pastry arts. To Italians, espresso is the only kind of coffee one should have after breakfast time. Cappuccinos, caffè lattes and any other coffee with milk are reserved only for the morning and should never be drunk after a meal. In Italian, "espresso" refers to the how the drink is made or "pressed out," and "un caffè" is the preferred term for the single shot of coffee. For baking and pastry arts purposes, however, we will refer to it as "espresso."

Known around the world for being a strong, Italian tradition, the perfect espresso requires several components.

Pick your favorite roast
In Italy, the darker the bean is, the better taste it has. The majority of Italian beans are a blend, combining the flavors from an Arabica bean (low caffeine and full flavor) and the Robusta bean (high caffeine and stronger than Arabica). However, every coffee drinker is different, and that applies to espresso consumers as well. Find a roast that you like and use it for your single shot espresso. Everything except a blonde roast will grind into a delicious drink. Just remember that the taste should be a good balance of bitter and sweet.

Purify your water
If you want your espresso to taste its best, make sure that the water you use is as clean as it can be. Serious espresso drinkers may invest in a water-testing kit, but a home water filter, like a Brita​, will also do the trick. By using a water purifier, you're eliminating unwanted minerals that will affect the taste of your espresso.

Use the right temperature
Make sure your espresso maker is set between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. By playing with the temperature of your water, you can decide how you like your espresso. Higher temps will lead to more of a roasted flavor, whereas lower heat will give you a somewhat sweeter taste.

Make sure you have the right grind
Brewing espresso is a delicate practice and the best espresso requires a fine grind of the beans. Whereas regular coffee grinding results in bigger grounds, once espresso beans are properly ground, the particles will be the size of table salt. Different levels of grinding your espresso beans will alter the overall taste of the drink.

Finding your perfect cup of espresso is a great experiment for someone attending a culinary academy. Discover what you like and enjoy!

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