Never had espresso before? We're going to tell you everything you need to know, including what it tastes like, how to drink it, why it's different from regular coffee and how to use espresso powder at home.
Let's get started, shall we?
What Does Espresso Taste Like?
Espresso is a highly concentrated beverage made from ground coffee beans. What it tastes like can be different depending on the types of beans the espresso is made up of. However, there is a certain kind of flavor all espressos have.
In general, espresso tastes very strong, slightly to quite bitter and often a bit tart like lemon. If made properly, it should have a naturally sweet finish. If it tastes deeply bitter, sour or watery, it probably wasn't made correctly.
Freshly prepared, a shot of espresso is going to be thick and creamy with a dense foam—called "crema"—sitting on top of a liquid espresso base.
The texture will change a bit as the shot sits. The crema will evaporate and the espresso will become entirely liquid. It's best to drink espresso as soon as it's made for both texture and flavor.
Does Espresso Taste Like Coffee?
Coffee drinkers may love espresso as these beverages are similar in taste. However, espresso is denser and much more intense.
Drinking espresso is also not really like drinking coffee. You probably wouldn't want to have a mug of espresso, which would be extremely potent (not to mention the fact that you'd be bouncing off the walls). However, some people do triple to quadruple shots of espresso with added sugar and creamer (which can be vegan creamer).
Still, despite their similarities in flavor, coffee and espresso are usually treated differently. Whereas coffee is a larger, milder beverage, espresso is typically sipped in small quantities due to its robustness.
Is Espresso Just Really Strong Coffee?
This is a great question, and one that often comes with confusing answers. Even though espresso is made from coffee beans just like regular drip coffee, the fact is that espresso is not just really strong coffee.
For starters, espresso is prepared differently—basically, it's condensed instead of long-brewed, and the grind is finer. Espresso is also made of a specific selection of certain types of coffee beans, usually with bright, clean flavors so that the final product won't end up tasting muddy and dull.
So you see, coffee and espresso are really not the same thing. Now that you know what espresso is, you can enjoy its distinctive characteristics—and know what flavors you're looking for.
How Do You Drink Your Espresso?
For every outfit combination in your wardrobe, there's a different combination of ingredients and techniques for sipping espresso.
Here's a neat video that'll show you a good way of tasting espresso with some palate-cleansing sparkling water on the side.
Espresso and chocolate go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you have some espresso powder at home, you can try out this vegan chocolate espresso tart made with hazelnuts, coconut, cacao powder and silken tofu.
Coffee and espresso have much in common, but they're also very different. If it helps, you can think of espresso as very concentrated coffee, but since it's generally made with certain types of coffee beans selected to generate a vivid, bright flavor, it's not exactly the same. If you really want to get into espresso tasting like a pro, have a glass of sparkling or plain water at the ready to rinse your palate and get all the lovely notes of the espresso. What else is delicious about espresso? The desserts! Add a scoop of espresso powder to any vegan chocolate recipe at home for a rich, tasty treat.