For some, Espresso is a divine experience. For others, Espresso is still a damn good brew. For everyone else, there are other coffee drinks which, unknown to most of them, is still Espresso, although with a little twist. An Espresso shot is the most common ‘denominator’ you will find in most of the specialty coffee drinks out there. What is an Espresso Shot though?
An Espresso Shot is nothing but a very concentrated amount of coffee brewed with near boiling water (at around 200 F) and finely ground coffee, at a minimum of 9-bar pump pressure. A perfect Espresso shot will be medium to dark brown in color, have a thick, syrup like texture and with a bitter, full-bodied taste topped with a layer of ‘crema’ floating on top. The more crema, the higher quality your Espresso Shot is!
Types of Espresso Shots
There are various types of Espresso Shots – A single Shot (7 grams of coffee, 1 oz of water), A Double Shot (14 grams of coffee, 2 oz of water) and so on. These shots can themselves be varied in terms of the amount of water mixed, which results again in three further variations. The Ristretto (short), Normale (normal) and Lungo (long) – the coffee to water ratio in each of these is 1:1, 1:2 and 1:3 respectively. Almost all of the popular coffee drinks that are served in coffee shops and restaurants, have the Espresso Shots at their foundation. The only thing that varies in these specialty coffee drinks is the different amounts of frothed or steamed milk or cream.
A very important aspect of brewing quality Espresso shots is to have a quality Espresso machine at home. Ideally, your Espresso maker should also be equipped with a grinder, so that you can get the desired quality of ground coffee. A fine ground coffee ensures preservation of the rich flavor and aroma of the coffee beans, making your coffee that much more exhilarating. Krups, Jura and Capresso are some of the brands who make the best quality Espresso machines, although you may have to shell somewhere around 110-150 if you really want the best in business.
Once you have mastered the art of brewing quality Espresso at your home, you can easily experiment further to brew all your favorite coffee varieties, which you usually can have only at the coffee shops. We’re listing 9 types of Espresso drinks below, which don’t require a lot of effort and provide amazing varieties of coffee. With these easy-to-do recipes, you will be making all your favorite coffee specialties at home in no time!
1) Cafe Latte – One of the most popular drinks in the USA.
- Make an Espresso Shot. (You can make a Double or a Triple Espresso Shot too for a Latte, if you want);
- Pour 6-12 ounces of cold milk, depending upon the size of the pitcher and your requirement;
- Make sure that the steam wand of the Espresso machine is completely immersed in the milk, by holding the pitcher up;
- Turn on the steam knob, slowly increase the amount of steam while moving the pitcher up and down, slowly;
- Once the milk is frothed, turn off the steam before the milk begins to boil;
- Pour the steamed milk into a cup, while holding back the froth with a spoon in the pitcher itself;
- Pour the Espresso shot into the steamed milk. Add froth on top. Your Latte is ready!
Tip: Add a bit of syrup or spice to your Latte, makes it taste even better!
2) Cappuccino – Another favorite of the crowd, Cappuccino is again quite simple to make.
- Make an Espresso Shot, and pour it into a Standard Espresso cup. (You can use a Double or Triple Espresso shot, if you want);
- Steam up 6-8 ounces of cold milk as explained above;
- Pour the steamed milk into the Espresso Shot, leaving ample space in the cup to put the froth in (A good Cappuccino has three equal parts of Espresso Shot, Frothed Milk and Steamed Milk);
- Using a spoon, scoop out the froth from the pitcher and fill up your Espresso cup. Cappuccino is served!
Tip: For a “Dry” Cappuccino, use very little or no steamed milk. For a “Wet” Cappuccino, ensure the amount of steamed milk is more than the frothed milk.
3) Cafe Mocha – This one is for the chocolate lovers!
- Make an Espresso Shot;
- Pour 6-12 ounces of cold milk into the pitcher. Steam it up;
- Mix one scoop (or more) of ground chocolate or around half an ounce of chocolate syrup into the steamed milk;
- Pour out the steamed milk into the cup, add the Espresso Shot;
- (If you want) Add some whipped cream and chocolate shavings on the top for a perfect Mocha!
Tip: Add chocolate syrup as per your liking, no prescribed amount for that!
4) Cafe Americano – Italy’s version of American-style coffee.
- Make an Espresso Shot. Pour into the Espresso Cup;
- Fill up the rest of cup with hot water (or 6-8 ounces of boiled water).
The Cafe Americano is similar to a regular brewed Espresso, but adding the boiling water (you can boil the water in a kettle or take out some out of your Espresso machine) makes the coffee taste a bit sweeter, and more aromatic.
5) Cafe Macchiato – “Macchiato” is Italian for marked. Cafe Macchiato thus, stands for an Espresso, ‘marked’ with foam.
- Make an Espresso Shot. Pour it into a Standard Espresso cup;
- Steam up about 6 ounces of milk in a pitcher. (You can vary the amount as per your requirement and size of the pitcher);
- Scoop out the froth or foam using a spoon from the pitcher, and put it on the Espresso shot;
- The Classic Macchiato is served with only a slight amount of frothed milk or foam on top. Ideally, 1 ounce of frothed milk for 2 ounces of Espresso. (Remember all you have to do, is make a ‘mark’, nothing else!).
Tip: Cafe Macchiato is best served in a Traditional Demitasse Cup.
6) Espresso con Panna – The word “con Panna” translates to “with cream”, hence the name!
- Make an Espresso Shot. Pour it into a cup. (Single or Double, up to your liking.);
- Add some whipped cream on top of the Espresso. (Amount of Whipped Cream can be varied as per your liking).
Tip: The added whipped cream takes out the edge of the bitter Espresso, making it ideal introductory drink for someone new to Espresso.
7) Australian Latte or Flat White – Believed to be first brewed in Australia and New Zealand in the early ’80s.
- Make an Espresso Shot. Fill up one-third of a cup with it;
- Steam up Cold Milk in a pitcher. (6-8 ounces of milk should do.);
- Pour out the steamed milk so that it is nearly double the amount of Espresso in the cup;
- Add a very thin layer of micro-foam on top, just enough so that it does not drown the Espresso.
Tip: Ideal Combination is 1/3 Espresso, 2/3 steamed milk. Make the foamy layer as thin as possible.
8) Gibraltar – Looks like a cross between Latte and a Cafe Macchiato.
- Make an Espresso Shot. Fill up half the cup.
- Steam up the cold milk. (6-8 ounces)
- Pour out the foam-infused steamed milk in to the cup.
- Half-Espresso and Half-Milk, provide a smooth texture same as in a Latte, but with a stronger taste due to higher amount of Espresso in it.
9) Iced Latte – Coffee does not have to be piping hot, it can be served ice-cold and taste still as great as always!
- Fill up a 12-ounce glass with ice cubes.
- Make a Double Espresso Shot.
- Once brewed, pour the Espresso into the glass filled with ice.
- Add cold milk to finish filling up the glass.
Tip: Add some flavored syrup to enhance the taste!