Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Truth about Espresso


(okay, I realize “joe” doesn’t usually refer to espresso, but I couldn’t resist this. Saint Joe by Ken Brown.)

Here are some interesting facts about espresso. 

Which has more caffeine, espresso or coffee? 

Ounce by prepared ounce, espresso has more.  The Mayo Clinic says that 1 ounce of espresso has 64 grams of caffeine, while an 8-ounce cup of coffee has 95.  A single shot of espresso typically has 1.5 ounces.   Therefore, your single espresso drink may have slightly more caffeine than coffee, while a double-shot drink will have significantly more. 

Espresso can be made with any kind of bean.  In Italy it is typically made with a lighter-roast bean than in North America—especially the West Coast.  The darker-roasted beans often used in, say, California, typically have a lower caffeine content than lighter roasts.  This may be one reason for a belief that espresso has less caffeine than coffee. 

espresso.jpg Espresso image by elle_lek

There is technically no such thing as an “espresso bean.”  This name is often used for marketing purposes to refer to a dark-roasted coffee bean, sometimes covered with chocolate!  Again, the beverage can be made with any kind of bean. 

An Italian businessman invented the first espresso machine in 1901, thinking that a faster way of making coffee would increase his workers’ productivity. 

espresso.jpg espresso image by CoheedT

At about the same time, an American Admiral named Josephus Daniels was Secretary of the U.S. Navy.  He banned the consumption of alcohol on board all American ships.   A “cup of Joe,” became the favorite ship-board beverage.  (Once again, this probably doesn’t really go with a post about espresso, but I need to justify my inclusion of the image on top of the post.  That’s the beauty of having your own blog. You can be illogical, and—Hey? What’s anyone going to do about it?  Fire the writer?) 

One more factoid about espresso.  This doo-dad, called a Moka, does not make “real espresso” because it doesn’t achieve the necessary pressure for producing it.  Lots of people use these pots for a home-brewed, espresso-like beverage.

I am not one of them.  I’m a coffee luddite who does not care for espresso or espresso-like beverages.  I prefer hot, coffee-flavored milk with sugar.  For you aficianado/as, please visit my friend Lola at Aglio, Olio and Peperoncino.  From her blog-quarters in Rome, Lola has written extensively on the real deal.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Send some over. I am having a hard time getting "with it" today!!

Perhaps it's the heat? Or the warm breeze that's blowing over my shoulder from the open window? Or Edward's snuffles as he snoozes at my feet?

Whatever....I need caffeine!!

Jean said...

Interesting post.

I don't drink coffee at home, but I do drink it when I'm out and about. It's usually because I can never get a decent cup of tea when I'm out. Strong coffee isn't for me though, so espresso wouldn't be my choice of coffee. I go for milky coffees such as lattes.

Pyzahn said...

I am a BIG lover of coffee, but espresso is a bit much for me. The first time my relatives in Italy served it to me the hair on my head stood up. Sooo strong.

Maybe that's what keeps Italians so robust.

Susan B said...

Oh, I adore that St. Joe painting! Think I'm going to need a hard copy of that one.

I'm a fan of that bit of artwork on my sidebar says, "Espresso! Euphoria Without The Unsightly Track Marks"

Rosaria Williams said...

I love the phrase," what's you going to do, fire the writer?". That's just how I feel; I write cause I want to tell you something. I might be wrong about that something, but hey, it's my blog. WELL said.

Enjoy your cup of Joe. When I hear that expression I will think of the admiral. Thanks for the tid-bit.

Patsy said...

What a delightful post! I feel so plebeian, now, with my style of iced coffee:

I microwave about 3 tablespoons of water in a coffee cup. I nuke it at top heat for one minute.

While the water is heating, I put a huge honking big spoonful of Taster's Choice Instant Coffee in a big, huge tall plastic (Did she say plastic?!!!) glass.

Then when the hot water is done, I pour those 2 or 3 tablespoons over the instant coffee crystals. I swish them around until they are all melted.

That is now a thick, strong, coffee paste. Now I put in a bunch of ice cubes and swish the concentrated coffee around until the ice cubes thin it out.

Then I add cold cold water. If I want to, I add enough ice cubes to reach to the very rim of the plastic glass.

And that, Dear One, is Lorna's ICED COFFEE.

It is better than restaurant iced coffee, which is watered down coffee, since all they do is add ice cubes to already made coffee. Who wants that? Not I.


Saz said...

very interesting...I am nt a coffee afficionado...I only starting drinking it in my 30's , now l prefer a starbucks, latte, usually decaf, cos the hit gives my palpitations a hit, and sometimes I get brain frazzled, which is a bit like brain freeze from a cold drink or ice cream. brain frazzle is like cotton wool brain, slightly merry or pissed. If I am feeling a bit low, I have a hit to pep me up....only sometimes. I think instant coffee should be slung into room 101 with instant tea..WTF!!!

Suecae Sounds said...

Ahh, coffee. The drug of choice. ;)

I like my coffee black. No sugar or milk added to the experience. It should definitely be caffeinated and quite strong at that.

Unknown said...

I just do a Keurig. Can make all types of flavored coffees and teas with it. I have to do decaf or I will be bouncing off the walls LOL!

Unknown said...

Coffee-black and dark- is my drug of choice, but this was very interesting to read....


drollgirl said...

i sure loves me some CAFFEINE! i love to be jolted in to action!

i don't like coffee, but tea rocks my world. love it!

hope you have the best weekend!!! enjoy!

and your toof comment cracked me up!!!

Duchesse said...

Love it, all kinds, But within the last year,it no longer loves me. If I go ahead and have a cup anyway with breakfast, I'm bolting for the bathroom. Has anyone else had this onset?

Jennifer said...

I think your opening picture is great! It's the perfect expression of how I feel about coffee, and the stronger the better. I think I heard angels calling. I am glad to know where the expression "cup of joe" came from.

Ingrid Mida said...

I LOVE for espresso and cannot make it through the day without at least two!!! It is an acquired taste for sure and probably my only vice but I'll never give it up!

Zuzana said...

What a lovely post about coffee (espresso)!
At work we just got an espresso machine, I am sure everyone would enjoy reading your post.
I love this small strong coffee at times, but I have always preferred regular coffee with milk.;))

The Clever Pup said...

In France you just can't o rder a regular cup of coffee. The closest thing you can get is a Cafe Americano and it still blow the top of my head off.

Mardel said...

Oh I love coffee, although I drink it black. I drink several cups in the morning. This explains why, although I drink plain coffee most of the time, I relish my late afternoon double espresso, which I have right about the time I hit my 3 or 4 PM slump.

Innerspace Yoga said...

mmm. i'm enjoying a huge iced-espresso right now! what i really wanted to comment on are the gorgeous pink roses and foxgloves in the right sidebar. fabulous!

Woman in a Window said...

I'm a middle of the road coffee girl. I do like my caramel vanilla flavor in there too.

aims said...

Ahh! My brother loves dark and bitter! He does a mean capuccino and is into roasting his own beans as well. Have passed on this link to him. He'll enjoy it greatly I think and then go make himself another watch!

sallymandy said...

Thank you for your comments, everybody. xo