national espresso day

How to Make the Perfect Espresso on National Espresso Day

November 23, 2021

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National Espresso Day is a day to enjoy your espresso coffee.

It is celebrated on 23 November every year in the USA. The date may differ in other countries.

I don’t know how it got started. I’ve seen some posts that suggest National Espresso Day was created by the International Coffee Organization in 2005 or even 2001. I’ve not been able to confirm this story. 

However, you and I know that this sort of thing is usually created to help people sell more coffee!

It is probably one of those marketing gimmicks to create awareness and promote coffee. Just like National Cappuccino Day and National Frappe Day!

I don’t mind how or why it got started. I don’t need to be reminded to drink espresso. I simply like to drink espresso every day of the year – not just one day. 

However, since it is National Espresso Day let’s find out more about espresso and how to make the ‘perfect’ espresso coffee drink.

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Espresso 101

What is espresso coffee?

Espresso coffee is made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under pressure.

The word ‘espresso’ is Italian for ‘expressed’. This means the coffee is extracted quickly. The word espresso may also mean ‘made on the spur of the moment’ (stated in the book called Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergast)

I’ve read blogs that say espresso has been called the ‘King of Coffee’. I’m also unsure where this phrase comes from but it seems a bit exaggerated. 

Sure I like espresso more than any other brewing technique but I wouldn’t call it ‘King of Coffee’. 

If you did call espresso ‘King of Coffee’ what would be ‘Queen of Coffee’, ‘Prince of Coffee’, or ‘Princess of Coffee’?

OK, I’m being a bit silly but you get my drift? (This phrase may give you a hint about my generation).

The ‘King of Coffee’ is subjective and is entirely up to you. Your ‘King of Coffee’ could be espresso, drip, pour-over, or however you prefer to make it.

As you know espresso is a coffee brewing method where pressured hot water is forced through finely-ground coffee to extract all the good coffee compounds that are responsible for coffee’s taste, aroma, and flavor.  

But espresso isn’t just any type of coffee. Here are some facts that are important to know about espresso:

  • Espresso tends to have more caffeine per volume than other coffees
  • Espresso is thicker and more concentrated than most other types of coffee drinks
  • Espresso is usually served in a small cup called a demitasse (French for ‘half-cup’) which has a volume of about 90 ml. A single shot (or ‘solo’ in Italian) of espresso is about 30 – 40 ml ml and the ‘extra space’ in the cup helps you to smell and appreciate the aroma volatiles.
  • Espresso has three components: the crema (sweeter top foamy layer), the body, and the heart (the bitter part of the espresso shot that settles to the bottom)
  • Stir your espresso to combine the three layers and balance the flavor of the espresso shot
  • You need to use appropriate equipment to brew a good espresso
  • Espresso coffee is an infusion technique for brewing coffee
  • Espresso uses a pressure of about 9 to 15 bar to extract the coffee from the coffee grounds
  • Espresso uses water at a temperature of about 90 °C or 190 °F
  • The four common serving sizes of espresso are espresso (about 40 ml), ristretto (about 20 ml), doppio (about 60 ml), and lungo (about 90 ml).
  • An espresso is ‘poured’ or ‘pulled’ from an espresso machine
  • A barista may use the term ‘length’ to describe the serving size of espresso because the pour of espresso from an espresso machine is usually measured by time. The greater the serving size the longer the pour. 
  • Many coffees use espresso as their ‘base’ and then add milk, water, or other ingredients

Equipment needed to brew a Good Espresso

The basic gear you need to make a good espresso is…

  • A coffee bean grinder. Preferably a burr grinder to give you the finest grind
  • A balance to weigh your ground coffee
  • A source of good quality water
  • A good quality espresso coffee maker that has good temperature and pressure regulation 
  • Different sized portafilters to accommodate different sized espresso pours. The portafilters are usually included with the espresso machine when you buy your espresso machine.

You also need the skill to pour a good espresso. You can learn by yourself through trial and error, physically attend an offline course, or attend an online course such as the Ninja Barista Course.

Top 3 Best Selling Coffee Bean Grinders

Bestseller No. 1
Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
  • Burr grinding provides uniform grind and optimum flavor
  • 18-position grind selector - from ultra-fine to extra-coarse
  • 4 to 18-cup slide dial
  • Removable 8 oz. bean hopper. Heavy-duty motor, Convenient cord storage
Bestseller No. 2
KRUPS Precision Grinder Flat Burr Coffee for Drip/Espresso/PourOver/ColdBrew, 12 Cup, Black
  • IMPROVED PERFORMANCE AND PRECISION: 33 percentage greater grinding range to provide precision grinding for all types of coffee brewing methods: Drip Filter Coffee, French Press Cold Brew, Pour Over Espresso and more
  • PREMIUM BURR GRIND: Metallic flat burr coffee grinder provides full control over the grind size and uniform grinding for the full coffee flavor
  • CUSTOMIZABLE GRIND: 12 grind fineness settings plus intermediary settings for precise grinding. Adjust the fineness level for any type of coffee, from fine for espresso to coarse for French press
  • CUSTOMIZABLE QUANTITY: 2-12 cups quantity selection settings with auto-stop to automatically grind the exact quantity you need
  • LARGE CAPACITY: 8 ounce whole coffee bean hopper and removable grounds container have the capacity to produce grinds for 30-32 cups of coffee
Bestseller No. 3
OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
  • Durable 40 millimeter stainless steel conical burrs create uniform grounds for optimal flavor extraction
  • 15 settings (plus Micro settings) let you adjust your grind to suit your taste
  • One touch start timer keeps your last setting, just push to grind
  • Hopper holds up to 0.75 pounds of Coffee beans. Product Dimension - 12x7.4x16 inch
  • Grounds container accommodates up to 110 grams (enough for 12 cups). Never use water or other liquids to clean the inside of the grinder/burrs

Last update on 2021-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 3 Best Selling Espresso Machines

SALE!Bestseller No. 1
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The powerful steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art
SALE!Bestseller No. 2
Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker | Café Barista , Silver
  • Semi automatic 3 in 1 espresso maker, cappuccino maker, and latte maker
  • 15 Bar Pump System Brews Rich Tasting Espresso Coffee
  • Trouble Free Automatic Milk Frother Removes the Guesswork. Do not wash the water reservoir in the dishwasher
  • One touch control panel for drink selections
  • Easy fill, removable water and milk reservoirs
Bestseller No. 3
Espresso Machine, 15 Bar Espresso Maker with Milk Frother Wand and Compact Design, Professional Espresso Coffee Machine for Cappuccino and Latte
  • HIGH PRESSURE ESPRESSO MACHINE - Yabano espresso machine with 15 bar pressure, easy to use, you can be a barista and brew favourite espresso at home.
  • PRESSURE GAUGES - Built in pressure gauges, you can know the accurate pressure and help you in consistently brewing great Espresso.
  • BUILTED IN STEAM WAND - Espresso maker comes with steam wand, you can enjoy cappuccino and latte with creamy and rich foam at any time at home!
  • LARGE WATER TANK - 37oz large and transparent water tank with detachable design, makes it easy to fill water. Detachable frothing nozzle and drip tray for easy cleaning. Compact design won’t take too much space.
  • WHAT YOU GET: Espresso Machine x 1, Portafilter x 1, Stainless Steel Filter x 1, Manual. (Glass cup and milk picther are not included). IF you receive defective item or not satisfied with our product, please contact us, we will try our best to help you and give you the best solution.

Last update on 2021-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 3 Best Selling Coffee Beans

Bestseller No. 1
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, 2.2 Pound (Pack of 1) Authentic Italian, Blended And Roasted in Italy, Produced in a nut-free facility center, Mild and creamy
  • 1 2.2 pound bag of Lavazza super crema Italian whole coffee beans
  • Mild and creamy medium espresso roast with notes of hazelnuts and brown sugar
  • Blended and roasted in Italy
  • Best used with espresso machine
  • Produced in a nut-free facility center, contains only coffee
Bestseller No. 2
Real Good Coffee Company - Whole Bean Coffee - Donut Shop Medium Roast Coffee Beans - 2 Pound Bag - 100% Whole Arabica Beans - Grind at Home, Brew How You Like
  • Medium Roast Coffee: Our Donut Shop whole bean coffee has a classic sweet and smooth flavor, perfect as your morning coffee, and great for drinking all day long
  • Sustainable Medium Roast Coffee Beans: Our coffee is made with premium quality Arabica coffee beans from Central and South America. They are grown, sourced and packaged responsibly, after being roasted fresh in Seattle, USA
  • Tasting Notes: Our Donut Shop coffee features the flavors of brown sugar and hazelnut, with a hint of plum for a little sweetness
  • Works With All Coffee Brewers: Our medium roast whole bean coffee is suitable for any good coffee machine: drip machines, espresso maker, French press, Aeropress, pour over and moka pot
  • Real Good Coffee Co: With over 30 years’ experience of coffee sourcing and craft roasting in Seattle, we make coffee, real good coffee, it’s that simple
Bestseller No. 3
SF Bay Coffee French Roast Whole Bean 2LB (32 Ounce) Dark Roast
  • FRENCH ROAST: We blend beans from Central & South America & roast until the flavor oils rise to the surface of the bean for a full-bodied, dark roast coffee with notes of chocolate & toasted cinnamon.
  • COFFEE FOR EVERY OCCASION: We offer a wide selection of 100% Arabica coffee from whole beans & ground coffee to single-serve coffee pods. Our coffees are sustainably grown & Kosher. Satisfaction guaranteed!
  • WHOLE BEAN COFFEE: Whether you're into finely ground espresso or drip coffee, or coarsely ground French Press or pour over coffee, our 100% Arabica coffee beans deliver a robust cup for every taste.
  • QUALITY COFFEE: San Francisco Bay Coffee uses only 100% arabica coffee and certified Kosher coffee beans. Unlike kcups, our roasted coffee is ground and packaged fresh. We're so confident you'll love it, we back it with a satisfaction guarantee.
  • SF BAY COFFEE is a family owned, American made company with a rich tradition. Our reputation reflects on us as a family so if you're ever not happy with your purchase, call us at 1(800) 829-1300 and we'll make it right.

Last update on 2021-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Very Brief History of Espresso 

The first commercial espresso machine was invented in 1901 by Italian Luigi Bezzara. 

His machine was a ‘complicated affair with assorted spigots, handles, and gauges, all topped with a resplendent eagle’. It is was something like the machine in the image below

Bezzera espresso machine
Bezzara Espresso Coffee Maker

A guy called Desiderio Pavoni had the foresight to recognise the potential of the machine and bought the patent from Bezzara in 1903. Pavoni started manufacturing one machine a day from a small workshop in Milan.

Of course, since that day espresso has become one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world.

Why Celebrate National Espresso Day?

So, why celebrate National Espresso Day? The answer is simple: Espresso is delicious.

It’s strong, smooth, and satisfying. It has a distinct flavor that can’t be replicated. And if you’re looking for a way to wake up in the morning, espresso is the perfect drink.

But not just that! Espresso also has numerous health benefits. It has been linked to decreasing the risk of Parkinson’s, lowering blood pressure, and is high in antioxidants.

We’re not saying you have to drink espresso all day, but it’s certainly worth a least drinking one espresso to ‘celebrate’ National Espresso Day!

How to Celebrate National Espresso Day

If you would like to celebrate National Espresso Day, there are a number of different options for you to choose from.

Espresso enthusiasts can enjoy a shot of espresso with or without a favorite creamer and sweetener.

Some people may want to try a specialty coffee, like a vanilla-bean latte, which is made with espresso and milk and flavored with vanilla and cinnamon.

You can also enjoy an iced Americano or a Caffe mocha.

In Italy, some people celebrate by drinking their national beverage of espresso, while others might enjoy a cappuccino or caffe corretto, which is made with brandy.

You can also enjoy espresso in an Italian dessert like tiramisu, which is made with espresso, mascarpone cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder. 

One of the most famous types of milk espresso is a cappuccino. It is usually made with espresso and steamed milk that is poured into a cup and topped with foam.

In the United States, the most popular type of espresso is the mocha, which is made from espresso, chocolate sauce, and steamed milk.

If you were a Good Brews member then you would even have been offered a chance to win a free espresso from your favorite ‘good coffee place’! Just one of the benefits of being a Good Brews member. You can become a member by just signing up here…

How to make the perfect espresso

There are five important ‘links to the chain’ of making ‘perfect’ espresso and these are…

  1. Good quality coffee beans
  2. Coffee grind
  3. Brew ratio
  4. Tamping
  5. Extraction time

Good Quality Coffee Beans

Obviously, you need to start with good-quality coffee beans.

Hopefully, good quality will also be your favorite flavorsome coffee beans.

Of course, it is your espresso coffee so you make it to your taste!

Coffee Grind

You need to grind your coffee beans to a fine consistency with a handheld burr coffee grinder or a coffee grinding machine.

If the coffee grind is too fine then water will have a long contact time with the coffee grounds, over-extract the coffee, and result in a bitter cup of coffee.

If the coffee grind is too coarse then water will flow past the ground coffee, have a short contact time with the coffee grounds, under extract the coffee, and result in a ‘weak’ cup of coffee.

Weigh the ground coffee before loading the portafilter. The more coffee you need the larger the portafilter basket.

You should use about 7 to 9 grams of coffee grinds for a normal espresso to extract up to 30mls within about 20 to 30 seconds.

Coffee to Water Brew Ratio

You should use an appropriate coffee to water brew ratio.

In coffee brewing terms, the “brew ratio” refers to the percentage of ground coffee beans to water added during extraction. It’s used to measure the quality of the extraction to get the best out of the bean. A brew ratio of 1:2 means that 1 gram of ground coffee would produce 2 grams of extracted coffee liquid.

The following brew ratios should be used…

Espresso 1:2 brew ratio

Ristretto 1:1 brew ratio

Lungo 1:3 or 1:4

Tamping

It is usually recommended to use about 30 pounds of force to tamp the coffee into the portafilter. However, If tamping is firm and consistent, then the subsequent extraction should be good.

After tamping, you insert the filled portafilter into the group head of the espresso machine and start the extraction with hot pressurized water.

Extraction

There are about three stages in coffee extraction and you may be able to see these as your start the pour. All of these stages occur during one pour. 

The first state is a pre-infusion (the time between pressing the extraction button and seeing the coffee start to pour). The pre-infusion takes about 3-5 seconds. The coffee will have a caramel color because it is essentially an emulsion of oil droplets.

The second stage is the main pour and is composed of suspended solids. It will be brown/black and have a ‘mouse tail’ shape during the pour. 

The final stage is a layer of gas bubbles or foam that forms the crema.

It is important to time the pour according to the desired brew ratio. Generally, extraction takes about 20 to 30 seconds. 

Conclusion

Espresso can be served alone or in combination with many other ingredients. Consequently, there are many different variations of espresso drinks around the world.

Espresso has become an important part of society. It started in Italy but has grown to become one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world. 

Espresso even has its own ‘National Day’. Who cares if this National Day was invented to promote or sell coffee? As long as I can drink espresso any day – I’m happy!

National Espresso Day Jigsaw Puzzle

Try our jigsaw puzzle. Solve the puzzle and be in the monthly draw to WIN A PRIZE!**

The prize could be cash, a voucher, a bag of coffee beans, or even a coffee maker. Prizes are randomized.

How to Play

  • Click and drag the pieces around with your mouse to complete the picture
  • Click on the question mark at the top right of the puzzle screen for help
  • Click the three horizontal lines at the top left to change the number of puzzle pieces
  • Check the time you took to complete your puzzle

Did you solve our jigsaw puzzle?

If so, take a screenshot of your completed puzzle, send it as an attachment to an email with the subject line ‘National Espresso Day Jigsaw Puzzle’ and win a prize. You may need to validate your email to enter the draw.

**Please Note: The draw is a random pick from all entrants during a calendar month. Only one entry per person in any one month. Multiple entries from the same person during the same month are not allowed. The game is subject to the terms of service.

References

Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Pendergrast, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 551 Pages - 07/09/2019 (Publication Date) - Basic Books (Publisher)

Last update on 2021-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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