The espresso system was in fact born of a need to obtain the coffee beverage within a brief space of time (the word “espresso” in Italian means fast, at the moment), to make the preparation stages practically simultaneous with those of consumption. The standard percolation conditions for espresso coffee are: a 7g dose of ground coffee (give or take 0.5 g); outgoing water temperature from the group within a range of 88-94° C according to the composition and degree of roasting of the coffee blend used, water pressure during the infusion stage of 9 bar (+/- 1); a percolation time of 25” (give or take 2.5”) and a temperature of the coffee in the cup of about 67°C +/-3°.
Preparation: when the machine is cold, take out the portafilter, remove any coffee dregs and wipe clean with a cloth; for each cup, add a 7 gram dose of freshly ground coffee to the portafilter; press the coffee firmly, making sure that it is evenly distributed and compact and then remove any coffee residues from around the edges of the filter holder. Dispense for about 25 seconds. A perfectly prepared espresso will fill around half of the cup and have a delicious nut-coloured cream on the surface.
The characteristics of the ideal espresso
- Cream: this is the first thing we see and it needs to cover every good espresso. The ideal cream is fine in consistency with an even surface and a thickness of about 3-4 mm. It should last in the cup for 3-4 minutes, to trap the volatile components of the coffee. Hazelnut in colour with reddish tones and dark brown streaks.
- Aroma: the release of hundreds of aromatic substances triggers the unmistakable fragrance of real Italian espresso: balanced and full-bodied.
- Body: the body of an espresso comes from the idea of thickness it conveys, thanks to the presence of oily emulsions and insoluble substances (colloids) in the extracted beverage. High, dense, full and rounded. There is a distinct acidity that conveys an idea of freshness but with a low degree of astringency.
- Taste: the perfect espresso needs to have the right degree of balance and harmony without there being a prevalent specific flavour. Balanced and very persistent.