26 February 2008

A note on espresso

Let's face it. Coffee can be confusing. Everyone knows what coffee is, but far fewer people are familiar with even the most basic details of espresso. Hell, even the word "espresso" is a little disturbing for some people. With that in mind, here are a few basic pointers on what's what in the espresso world. (Expect much more in the future on this subject.)

- Espresso: A concentrated coffee drink brewed by forcing very hot--but not boiling--water under high pressure through finely ground coffee
- Macchiato: Espresso with a dollop of steamed-milk foam on top (contrary to popular belief, a Macchiato is not the thing they make at Starbucks with caramel all over it)
- Cubano: Espresso brewed with unrefined sugar
- Latte: Espresso mixed with steamed milk--light foam
- Cappuccino: Espresso mixed with steamed milke--heavy foam (surprising to many, this is the only difference between an espresso and a latte!)
- Mocha: A latte with chocolate!
- Americano: Very hot--but not boiling--water with espresso on top. Milk is sometimes added
- Caffe au lait: Half brewed coffee, half steamed milk

These are just the basics. As you can see, they're really not as daunting as they seem when you walk into a coffee shop for the first time. More to follow!

[Wikipedia on espresso]
[Coffee Geek]
[Coffee Review]

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