What is Espresso?

Es·pres·so – /eˈspresˌō/
noun: espresso; plural noun: espressos; noun: expresso; plural noun:
1. strong black coffee made by forcing steam through ground coffee beans.
from Italian (caffè) espresso, literally ‘pressed out (coffee)’.


The Upsetter Espresso has been named a Good Food Award Winner, and it seems like a great time to talk about espresso roasts and perhaps clarify what that means. So let’s start with the basics:

What is espresso?

Espresso is coffee of Italian origin, brewed by expressing or forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso generally has more body than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids which gives it a satiny mouthfeel, and has crema on top, which is a foam with a creamy consistency. As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of espresso are very concentrated. Espresso is also the base for other drinks such as a caffè, latte, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white, or caffè Americano.

What is an espresso roast?

Espresso is both a coffee beverage and a brewing method. It is not a specific bean, bean blend, or roast level, though it is more finely ground. An espresso roast is simply a way of roasting any green coffee with the intention of it tasting good brewed as espresso. Any bean or roasting level can be used to produce authentic espresso. For example, in Southern Italy, a darker roast is generally preferred. Farther north, the trend moves toward lighter roasts, while outside Italy a wide range is popular.

By lightly roasting a blend of high quality coffee beans from three different countries of origin, our Roastmaster developed a new espresso flavor profile; one with deeper complexities than many darker roasts.

Can I use an espresso roast in my home brewer?

Yes! The Upsetter Espresso was judged for the Good Food award, not prepared as an espresso, but served like all the other contenders as a drip brewed coffee. A blend designed with the extraction process of espresso in mind will also taste great as a drip coffee, a pour over, a french press, or even cold brew.

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