What is Espresso?

Oh the aroma, the taste and the buzz! Nearly every barista drink is based around espresso. Latte, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Americano—are any of those a staple of your caffeine diet? They all have espresso in their heart. This crucial element of many of our favorite drinks is a mystery to most of its loyal followers. Espresso is not a special type of coffee, it’s a special process.

rancilioTo produce a delicious shot you need an espresso machine. These vary wildly in price ranging from $50 to well over $20,000. That’s right, the quest for the perfect cup can have a price tag equal to that of a new car. Vroom! Maybe with enough espresso you can sell the car and just run everywhere. Those high dollar machines are commercial and intended for high traffic cafes. If you are a home brewer a simple machine will do just fine. These machines use high pressured water that blasts through finely ground coffee grounds. The end result, hopefully, is a thick and concentrated shot of “YES”!


What you want in your shot is 3 distinct parts; the heart, body and crema. The heart is the bottom layer, with a rich brown color. This is where that memorable bitterness rests. Next we have the body, the bulk of the shot with an amber hue. And finally, on top is that seductive layer of crema, often yellow or white in color.

That crema is hiding a little secret though! We know there are 2 major types of coffee beans; Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is the bulk of what we consume. Its allure is no mystery with its intoxicating smell, full flavors and mind-blowing spectrum of options. Robusta is its less popular, less tasty and bitter brother.

However its saving grace is something we all enjoy. The very reason we need this dark shot of power…caffeine. Robusta beans generally have double the caffeine as their tastier Arabica counterparts. Also….they happen to produce a wonderful crema!

Now there are certain beans that are more conducive to this process. Could you run some finely ground Wal-Mart ‘Master Chef’ through an espresso machine? Sure, but how will it taste? Like disappointment. Every coffee bean has unique flavors and attributes. Even deeper beyond that there are infinite variables in roasting, seasons and climate that can alter a single bean! Here at Thrasher Coffee we go through the grueling process of tasting tons of amazing coffees from around the globe just for you. Oh, the burden. When formulating our new FRONTIER espresso we had some very distinct characteristics we wanted to harness. The aroma, the body, the taste, the finish and *drumroll* the caffeine content! Now, it may come as a surprise but your typical espresso has LESS caffeine per serving than just a regular cup-of-joe. This is because the volume per serving is much lower. However, being so concentrated the espresso hits you faster and you may feel more alert than a regular cup.

So after all that…what is espresso?! It’s simply coffee that has been extracted under high pressure. So now that you know, start crafting your cup today!

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