Espresso

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 25. May. 2020

Espresso is a classic after-dinner or early-morning caffeine kick that has plenty of flavor and some important health benefits as well.

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Espresso...

  • ...improves digestion. The Italian custom of drinking an espresso or two after a sumptuous meal is a smart one-- the coffee stimulates digestion, making sure the food doesn’t put too much strain on the stomach.
  • ...is particularly low in acid. If coffee is normally hard on your stomach, you might want to give espresso a try. Espresso beans are roasted for longer than normal coffee, reducing the stomach-irritating chlorogenic acid by up to 70 percent.
  • ...protects the arteries. Brazilian scientists found that regularly consuming espresso makes arteries less hard.
  • ...might help prevent diabetes. According to several U.S. studies, the plant substances polyphenols contained in espresso can have a positive influence on sugar metabolism and insulin balance. The studies concluded that regular espresso consumption (about 4 cups daily) reduced the risk of diabetes.
  • ...can help relieve headache pain. Several studies in recent years have shown that the combination of espresso and headache remedies appears to provide relief for a great many headache patients.
  • ...contains fewer irritants than normal coffee. Espresso’s special brewing process gives it an advantage over regular coffee. Because the water is pressed through the powder at high pressure in one stroke, fewer irritants and bitter agents are released during preparation.
  • ...should be enjoyed in moderation. Four cups a day is enough to reap all of its health benefits. More than that can but too much caffeine in the system.

What You Should Know About Espresso

In Italy, you can find people drinking espresso at the bar or cafe at almost any time of the day or night.

Which variety of espresso tastes best, the perfect way to prepare it, and which appliance is ideal for making it is all a matter of heated debate. But all espresso fans agree on one thing: an espresso is only really good when you get the typical creamy foam on top. This "crema" only forms from the coffee oils when there is sufficient pressure, indicating a well-made espresso.

Origins

The special way of preparing coffee, in which steam is pressed through finely ground powder, was invented in Italy in the middle of the 19th century. However, espresso itself has only been around for many years before that, when coffee was only allowed to be bought and drunk in Italy from occupied Abyssinia. Since Abyssinian coffee was not exactly top quality for Italian connoisseurs, a special roast was devised: the espresso was born.

Season

Fortunately for all fans, espresso is available and enjoyed at any time of year.

Flavor

A good espresso tastes strong, aromatic and yet mild.

Our Favorite Recipes With Espresso

Find all our espresso recipes here.

How Healthy is Espresso?

Espresso is much better for a sensitive stomach than regular coffee because its beans are roasted longer and therefore contain up to 70 percent less acid.

In addition, the quick brewing process used to produce espresso releases fewer bitter and irritating substances that can strain the stomach. At the same time, espresso has a positive effect on digestion.

Espresso can also be a better choice for those with circulation problems than regular coffee, or those who are particularly affected by the caffeine in regular coffee. Because espresso is consumed in much smaller quantities, you end up consuming less caffeine with espresso than you would with regular coffee. In addition, espresso has been shown to slow down the calcification of the arteries. 

As a prevention against diabetes, espresso can also help because it has a positive effect on the insulin balance and blood sugar level. The scientists recommend four 30 ml cups a day.

ESPRESSO NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 2
Protein 0.12 g
Fat 0.18 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Fiber 0 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

Espresso is priced at between 7 and 32 cents per cup, although the most expensive does not necessarily have to be the best. It's really a matter of taste as to which espresso has the best flavor: some people like espresso bitter, others more mellow, some like it smoky, and some like it sour. So it's best to try through several brands until you find your favorite espresso.

Whether you prefer whole beans or powder is also a question of personal taste, although it's true that espresso tastes particularly aromatic when freshly ground.

Storage

Whether in bean or powder form, espresso quickly takes on foreign odors and should therefore always be stored in a can that is sealed as airtight as possible. Espresso also stores extremely well in the refrigerator.

Preparation

If you prefer your espresso made from whole beans, you will of course have to grind it before preparing it. Otherwise there are no special steps for preparing.

There's no question that a quality machine helps a lot in producing a quality cup of espresso. However espresso machines can cost a lot of money. If you only drink a cup every now and then, using a stovetop espresso maker is your best bet,  which Italians still use at home today.

What To Make With Espresso

Espresso isn't just for drinking, but makes a delicious cooking ingredient as well. It's the prime ingredient in the classic and delicious Italian dessert tiriamisu, and is delicious in an array of other baked goods and desserts. If you've never tried an espresso granita, definitely whip it up for your next summertime get-together. It's incredibely refreshing, delicious and easy to make, with only a few ingredients!

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