Image via Flavouz on Flickr
There are many types of espresso-based drinks, from Lattes and Cappuccinos to a regular Americano or Flat White Coffee. Purist coffee drinkers may prefer a simple Espresso. But is it so simple? There are 3 distinctive ways to drink Espresso.
Ristretto is a smaller short, or more precisely, a ‘shorter’ shot of espresso. The key to getting this shot tasting great, as with many coffee drinks, is in the grind of the beans. To achieve a higher ratio of coffee to water than a standard shot you need a finer grind. This may make the drink taste crisper and drier, but gives a good amount of caffeine and a strong taste in a quicker, shorter beverage. In a real rush and need a real caffeine hit? Ristretto may be the shot for you.
It would be wrong to say that a Lungo Espresso, or Espresso Lungo is at the opposite end of the scale to Ristretto, that would surely apply to a black coffee (for a larger ratio of water to ground coffee). However a Lungo is stretched where Ristretto is short. Have a bit more time to play with? Need a shot that isn’t so dry? Lungo is Italian for ‘long’, meaning more water and a longer pulling time. Pulling the drink for longer gives it more of a bitter taste as the ground coffee delivers elements not found in a shorter pull. This doesn’t mean that the shot is weaker, just different. Lungo is great if you want something with less bite, especially if you’re looking to take a little more time over it.
A standard shot of espresso is 30ml, multiply by two for a ‘doppio’ (double) or 90ml for a triple (or ‘triple’ if you’re Italian, knowledgeable or pretentious). Water is forced through the ground beans into the cup at high pressure, leaving a slightly creamy foam on the top of the shot, called ‘crema’. Of course espresso can be consumed in a variety of ways – with sugar, ice cream and other additions, even brandy!
Which Espresso drink do you prefer? Leave your answer via Facebook in the comments below…