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What is Espresso?


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The espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage with a strong and rich, but smooth taste. Unlike most other coffee drinks, it is served as a “shot” which is about 1-1.5 ounces. It is also the main component or building block of many other coffee drinks.

It first appeared in Italy around the early 20th century. Although many coffee histories revolve around the type of bean or ways of drinking it, such as adding milk or cream, the history of the espresso directly influenced by the invention of the espresso machine.

The first espresso machine was patented by Angelo Moriondo in 1884. The basis of this machine was to make coffee faster than the regular brewing method. Because of that, the coffee it produced tasted more like brewed coffee we have today. The invention of this machine and others is what made espresso a more popular beverage, mostly drank in coffee houses.

It wasn’t until around 1948 when the first modern type of espresso was invented by Ernesto Valente. This type of machine was different in that it was semi-automatic and built in a more horizontal shape to allow the barista and customer to socialize while the espresso was being made.


The espresso is different than regular brewed coffee, not in the coffee beans used, but in the method of preparation. While the filter brewing method takes several minutes, the espresso is more quickly and takes only about 30 seconds.

It is made by forcing extremely hot, almost boiling water, through compacted finely grounded coffee to extract. The grounds must be fine so that there is more surface area in contact with water, which prevents the issue of under extraction.


According to Caffeine Content, the espresso, which is about 1.5 ounces, contains 58-185 mg of caffeine. Although the espresso may seem like it has more caffeine than a regular brewed coffee, if it was diluted with water to make it an 8 ounce cup, it would have around the same caffeine content as a regular cup of coffee.


The espresso is great for many other coffee drinks. These drinks include for example the Americano, where espresso is diluted with water, and also the base to other milk and/or milk foam based coffee drinks. For example, cappuccino, macchiato, and latte.


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