Articles From Whole Latte Love

Espresso: the Bean, the Roast, the Beverage

Posted: 09/20/07

“Hi sweetie, I’m at the grocery store and I can’t find espresso. What should I be looking for again?”

It’s a call I’ve had a few times now, and frankly, I’m growing frustrated. So I wanted to clear it up once and for all and explain the ‘ins and outs’ of espresso – the bean, the roast, the beverage.

Common Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions when it comes to espresso. The first, and most common misconception is that espresso is a particular type of bean. It’s not.

Espresso can be made using virtually any type of coffee bean – Sumatra, Kona, Kenya AA, or a blend like Whole Latte Love’s Buzzopolis. Coffee beans can be roasted in a variety of ways to create different tastes. 

The misconception that espresso is a type of bean may have grown from a misguided marketing concept developed by coffee chains and grocery stores that eventually ended up confusing people, like my mother.

The second largest misconception is that espresso is a type of roast.

If you see a bag of beans labeled “Espresso Roast” at the store, know that the name “Espresso Roast” only means that the beans are more than likely a dark roast. That doesn’t mean that “Espresso Roast” can only be used for espresso, but, that it’s a traditional favorite for espresso and could be used for anything – drip coffee, French press or even with a percolator.

So when you’re brewing espresso, (not expresso Mom!) know that it doesn’t matter what type of beans or what type of roast you use. Making espresso is a unique process that forces hot water at high pressures through very finely ground coffee. It can be made using a semi-automatic, super automatic or lever machine.

Mom, don’t be offended, I love you but please stop the calls, my Verizon bill is out of control.