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Despite the massive popularity of espresso drinks and the ever increasing number of cafes selling them, it seems that a lot of people don’t really know what espresso is.
With brands like Starbucks, Nespresso, and even Dunkin’ Donuts all trying to make espresso cheap and easy, many people don’t even know how it’s made or how it should taste.
But real espresso can be so much more than what the chain cafes have to offer. In the last few years, there has been a wave of people taking the craft of brewing espresso in their homes.
And it’s not too hard to see why. All it takes is the patience to learn and a quality coffee maker.
Espresso doesn’t describe a specific type of bean or a type of roast. Rather, it describes a special method for making coffee.
To make espresso, a blend of dark roasted and finely ground coffee is pressed into a very compact space, and then hot water is pressed through the grounds at extremely high pressure. Espresso’s uniquely rich, smooth flavors are owed to this process.
As that description implies, your average coffee maker wasn’t designed to make true espresso. Just putting some Lavazza grounds in a regular machine would produce nothing more than a dark, bitter cup of regular coffee.
So a quality espresso machine is necessary for making espresso. But is it worth the investment when you can always default back to the chain coffee shops?
We believe that it is. Some of the reasons being that:
A normal coffee pot or a Keurig machine may be convenient, but mostly limit you to the manufacturer’s pre-defined instructions. As such, you’re limited in how much you can do with them.
Coffee culture has been evolving for centuries and will continue to do so in the future. If anything, we can expect its evolution to accelerate as individual artisans are always experimenting with new techniques.
Having a quality espresso machine of your own allows you to not only replicate your favorite drinks but join in on the experimentation yourself.
Along the same lines, a quality espresso machine allows you to take control of every aspect of the brewing process.
Even if all you want is a simple, two-ounce cup of espresso, everything from the courses to the grind to the exact water temperature will affect the quality of the brew.
And that’s just the basics. By affording you total control of temperature and aeration, you can fine-tune your drinks to your pleasure.
If the effects of ground, temperature, and aeration all sound foreign to you, that’s okay!
It’s easy to forget that espresso only became common a little over a century ago. So at one time, all of the most popular espresso drinks were just the result of someone’s experimentation.
And that’s one of the perks of having your own machine to work with. It’s one thing to be able to read up on all of the variables that can affect a brew, but it’s quite another to be able to taste the difference yourself.
If you’re entertaining friends, or even just trying to get a little more friendly with your neighbours, having a chat over a couple of cups of coffee is a good standard.
But if you really want to impress, why not offer them a fresh cappuccino or a latte?
Whether you’re trying to revive your guests after Thanksgiving dinner or play barista for a date, being able to bust out more than just a tepid cup of coffee can only work to your benefit.
How often have you already been running late in the morning, only to find a line waiting for you when you stop off for your morning pick me up?
If you have your own espresso machine, you can say goodbye to those dirty looks from your boss every time you come in late with a coffee cup in hand. With a little practice, you’ll be able to brew your usual at the same time as any barista, and without waiting in line or taking a detour to get there.
On average, a flavored latte only costs about 89 cents to make, including costs like disposable cups and lids. Subtract that from the sale price, then multiply it by the number of drinks you order a week, and you have a good metric for how much money you’re paying just to stand in line for coffee before work.
And those single-serve home brewers aren’t much better, it turns out. A price analysis by the New York Times found that coffee pods for single cup coffee makers end up costing more, per pound, than all but the most expensive artisanal coffees.
Taking those mark-ups into account, investing in a home espresso maker starts to make a lot of financial sense.
Speaking of those single-cup brewers, most of those little plastic cups are still not made to be recyclable. And while some cafes encourage patrons to use reusable cups, how many times have you left the house in a hurry and just forgotten to?
BY brewing at home, you have the chance to make a serious dent in the amount of plastic waste you produce.
For many people, a cup of coffee is a purely practical thing. A quick pick-me-up to help them start their day.
While espresso drinks do fill that role admirably, they can take your coffee enjoyment to the next level. And learning to make your own allows you to control every step of the process.
And if you’re interested in dipping your toes into the water but aren’t quite ready to commit to a top-tier machine just yet, check out our article on how you can make espresso on the stovetop.