Choosing A Great Espresso Coffee
Want to make a great cup of espresso? Step one-start with good coffee. Sounds basic, doesn’t it. You would be surprised at the number of people that think a good espresso maker will turn sub-standard coffee into a good espresso. The machine will help you make espresso, but starting with lousy coffee beans or ground coffee will just give you a lousy cup of espresso.
Choosing a coffee that you really like can be a personal decision that you take seriously. There are a lot of different types of coffees, each with a distinct flavor. It will depend on your tastes or perhaps your whim at a certain time of day. Some people prefer a lighter roast in the morning, they want to ease into their day. Others want a jolt, they want a dark roast with a lot of caffeine. Your preference should determine what type of coffee bean you will use for that particular cup of espresso.
Whole Coffee Bean Or Ground Coffee?
This is a question that can lead to very heated discussions. Some purists insist that the best coffee will only come from freshly ground coffee beans. The look at ground coffee as a lazy person’s way of drinking coffee, resulting only in a sub-standard cup of coffee. Others think that the purists are nothing more than coffee snobs. They will argue, with some justification, that ground coffee, stored properly, will brew up a fabulous cup of espresso and that no one will be able to tell the difference.
Both sides have valid points. Using whole coffee beans and grinding only what you need when you need it will result in a better (maybe) cup of espresso. That said, using ground coffee that is stored properly and is not too old can also give you a great cup of coffee. Most coffee drinkers can’t tell the difference between espresso made from freshly ground beans and ground coffee. There may be a stronger coffee aroma in the kitchen, grinding coffee beans will give off a powerful coffee smell. The difference in taste, however, can be quite subtle.
The biggest difference for most espresso drinkers will be convenience. Grinding coffee every day can be time consuming. Yes, a lot of espresso machines have built in coffee grinders, meaning that you don’t have to pull out another piece of equipment when you want to make coffee. Still, you have to clean the grinder after each use, adding one more step to your coffee making process.
However, you may be one of those people who can tell the difference between freshly ground coffee and pre-ground coffee. If so, grinding your beans freshly each day is probably a labor of love and the result is without question worth it.
A decent coffee bean grinder can usually be found for less than $30. Most can grind up to 5 ounces of coffee at a time, letting you prepare as much fresh espresso as you desire. While they almost always have to be cleaned by hand (no dishwasher!), the units are basic and it is just a matter of cleaning off the blades and wiping out the grinding bowl. You probably won’t be using this for any other food preparation, so a few coffee grounds left inside won’t matter.
The bottom line on the fresh ground versus packaged ground coffee comes down to a simple answer. Both sides are right. Both methods will give you a great cup of espresso. Make your decision strictly on your personal preference and enjoy the results.