It's not the beans, but rather the brewing method that's the big difference between your regular cup of morning joe and a shot of espresso. While the roasting process of the beans is the same for both, the coffee you use for espresso is ground finer than regular, and espresso makers utilize a completely different procedure of flavor extraction. Instead of hot water falling through the coffee and filter, with espresso, the extraction method involves hot water at high pressure. An espresso shot consists of three parts: the heart, the dark part at the bottom; the crema, the creamy top layer; and the body, the light brown center, where the heart and crema start coming together. Fresh beans result in more crema, and stronger beans lead to darker crema.
Generally, preparing espresso is faster than brewing a cup of standard coffee, While many people assume espresso has more caffeine, since it's stronger, and has a higher concentration of caffeine, an average 12-oz. cup of drip coffee actually has more caffeine. Because of the concentration of caffeine, espresso is generally served in a smaller, specially designed coffee cup, sized for either a 1.35-oz. espresso shot, or a 3.70-oz. lungo, which is basically a shot of espresso with double the water.
Choosing the Best Nespresso Machine
When coffee lovers think of a fast, convenient espresso machine, Nespresso often comes to mind. Nespresso machines carry the names of a number of big-name manufacturers, including DeLonghi Nespresso. Within the Nespresso family, you'll find two lines: OriginalLine and VertuoLine. OriginalLine machines feature extraction pressure applied by a pump with up to 19 bars of pressure, while VertuoLine machines extract the coffee and flavor using rapid capsule spinning centrifusion (centrifugal action up to 7,000 rpms, and water infusion) technology. Additionally, VertuoLine machines feature an intelligent system that reads bar codes to regulate the extraction process to provide optimized brewing for each blend.
You can determine the best Nespresso machine for you by comparing their wide variety of features. Some makers do double duty, brewing either espresso or regular coffee, some have a removable drip tray, and some models can brew a double cup. You can choose from machines with water tank capacities ranging from 24 ozs. to 40 ozs., weights ranging from 5.3 lbs to 12.3 lbs. and special features such as the Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother, which enables you to add foaming milk to your beverage, turning your Nespresso coffee machine into a cappuccino machine.
Making the Most of Your Nespresso Coffee Machine
Nespresso espresso makers are known for heating up quickly, satisfying both espresso-drinkers on-the-go and those who prefer to enjoy a leisurely beverage. Since all Nespresso espresso machines have an easy pod insertion system, you can start with tea or coffee pods that appeal to your taste, and invest in a coffee pod holder, storage container or coffee station. Remember that the water you use critically affects the taste of your espresso. Use pure, clean, great-tasting water which, depending on the water quality available where you live, may call for adding a water purifier or dispenser to the mix.