Did you know today’s National Espresso Day?
One of the most celebrated forms of coffee worldwide, espresso is honored yearly with its own dedicated day on November 23 – National Espresso Day. It’s a day to promote, celebrate and enjoy this bold and beloved coffee beverage, which is made and enjoyed in many forms.
Let’s start with the basics. Espresso means “pressed out” coffee in Italian. Since its origins in Italy in the 1800s, espresso has influenced coffee cultures around the world, including that of Americans. And whether you enjoy a latte, cappuccino, iced cap, or even a cafecito or café au lait – you are drinking espresso coffee. So why not celebrate National Espresso day by learning a few fun facts about the coffee we love so much?
There are a few key differences between espresso and regular coffee. Espresso beans are selected and roasted to hold up under high pressure and the hot water of an espresso machine for optimal flavor. They are generally darker roasted beans. These beans have just the right amount of acidity to prevent bitterness. They are also a bit slick and oily.
The process of making espresso requires pressure and hot water pushed through tightly packed powdery grounds of coffee. You can use espresso ground coffee in a drip coffee maker, just note that it will result in a more intense and bold flavor. A fine grind is best for espresso. Some brands offer the perfect espresso bean already ground to the exact approximation for espresso, like Cafe La Llave, a favorite among espresso drinkers who enjoy a dark roasted and intensely aromatic, rich, strong Latin-style coffee.
“If you have a high-quality coffee bean grinder, it’s always best to grind your own whole coffee beans for the most flavorful cup; however, if you don’t have a high quality grinder, opt for pre ground coffee. Getting the grind wrong will also impact flavor,” says fourth generation coffee roaster Lisette Gaviña Lopez, also the Chairman of the Board and Managing Director overseeing Sales & Marketing for family-owned coffee roaster F. Gaviña & Sons.
There are a variety of methods to make espresso at home without having to spend a lot of money, from stovetop coffee makers to professional-grade machines. One classic method is by using a good ole “cafetera” or how I like to say greca, also known as a Moka pot or stove top coffee maker. It brews espresso by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee on a stovetop. For those looking to add that extra “espumita” (sugary foam) commonly used to make Cuban-style coffee, you’ll need to catch that first thick shot that comes out and quickly mix it with sugar to create that perfect mixture. Though many choose to enjoy this beverage with a variety of milks, from oat to non-dairy options.
However, if “pop and go” is more your style, an at-home espresso machine like the Nespresso®* Original Line may be more up your alley. Those machines use an espresso capsule to extract the perfect shot in seconds, ensuring that you will get a consistent and perfect espresso every time. If you are looking for an effortless yet luxurious espresso capsule option, try Don Francisco’s espresso capsules. These European-style espresso capsules are made from 100% Arabica beans and are highly aromatic with a rich, intense flavor; find them at donfranciscos.com or Amazon.
If you are looking for a professional barista experience at home, Breville is a popular and affordable professional espresso machine option. But, be on the lookout for those Black Friday deals.
In small amounts, using ground espresso in baked goods or desserts subtly enhances the chocolate notes of a recipe without a pronounced coffee or mocha flavor. The added depth and complexity makes it popular in brownies, cakes, and more. Pro tip: just add a teaspoon or two of espresso grounds to dry ingredients in brownies to deepen the chocolate flavor without having to use expensive chocolate. Espresso can enhance savory recipes too, such as moles, chilis, or barbecue rubs.
Bonus: Packaging for both Café La Llave and Don Francisco’s Coffee can be easily recycled for free through their partnership with Terracycle.com.
Here is a delicious espresso recipe to try this season:
Don Francisco’s Chocolate Chili Latte
WHAT YOU NEED:
2 Don Francisco’s Clásico Espresso Capsules
4 oz. milk or dairy-free alternative
2 squares (2 oz) of dark chocolate
1 tablespoon sugar or sugar-free substitute
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Optional: whipped cream and chocolate shavings for garnish
HOW TO MAKE:
Heat milk or dairy-free alternative in a small saucepan over medium heat with chocolate squares, sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Gently stir until chocolate melts and ingredients are combined.
Remove from heat and froth chocolate chili milk.
Add brewed espresso to a glass and top with frothed chocolate chili milk. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.