Espresso is a kind of concentrated coffee with a different method used for brewing.
Nowadays, people are more inclined towards having a cup of espresso also referred to as an espresso shot rather than going for a normal coffee.
There are many differences between a normal coffee and espresso.
Starting from the beans till the pouring in the cup, both have different methods and techniques.
Yet, both of them are known to have a great influence and addiction in everyone’s lives.
There has been a great debate going on about the typical taste of espresso.
How does it taste?
Which taste can be considered as the best one? etc. etc.
Hey, do you know the typical taste of coffee?
Find it out before you go to the espresso level of taste.
There can never be the best typical taste for espresso that is idealized for everyone.
Now you might be thinking why is it like that.
Because the taste is something that is associated with many factors and can be changed due to any minor thing also.
Different kinds of coffee beans can provide you different flavors and different tastes.
There can be a change in acceptance of a particular type of taste depending on that person’s taste bud.
So basically, a good espresso should taste slightly bitter to quite bitter along with the presence of a lemon taste with a sweet finish at the end.
So, what do you think can be a good method to achieve this type of taste in your espresso?
As said before, espresso taste depends on multiple factors.
So, if you need to achieve great espresso taste, you should be ready to look out for more than one factors.
You can work with the types of coffee beans, the grinding method of the beans, or even with the espresso machine set to get it in our favor.
Table of Contents
- 4 Main Factors That Decide if Espresso is Good
- What Does Good Espresso Smell Like?
- 4 Main Reasons Behind Bad Taste of Espresso Coffee
- 5 Best Practices to Achieve Good Espresso Taste
- 5 Factors to Help You Identify Good Espresso Shot vs Bad Espresso Shot
- Does Espresso Taste Bitter?
- 4 Factors that Define Espresso Taste Chart
4 Main Factors That Decide if Espresso is Good
There are many criteria for you to define the espresso and to differentiate between them.
However, it is mostly done on the four basic criteria.
The 4 things defining the espresso as good or bad are texture, body, aroma and after taste.
A good espresso will have a creamy texture.
The outer layer of the espresso will be fully covered with the crema such that inner coffee should not be seen easily.
The crema on the top should not be frothy nor it should be much thick or less thin.
It should be perfect.
Body stands for the feeling and taste that an espresso offers once placed inside your mouth.
For the sake of the flavor, espresso is a mixture of bitterness, saltiness, sweetness, and acidity.
A good espresso should be the one that can mix up all these flavors in such a way that the bitterness is felt along with little to almost no acknowledgment of acidity.
At the same time, there is the equalization of saltiness and sweetness in the espresso.
The aroma of a good espresso should be clean and pure with no burning or faulty after smell.
The smell should be intense and strong for a good espresso.
4. After Taste:
The good espresso should give satisfaction through its taste.
The taste should be such that it lingers in your mouth for a few more minutes.
It can make you feel its sweetness with all of its aromatic strength.
Taste is something that is the first key used for judging purposes.
But you must know that human taste buds are more developed and more eligible for this job!
What Does Good Espresso Smell Like?
It is said that 70% of our impression of coffee comes through aroma or from smell rather than the actual taste.
So, you can say for espresso, it is very important to have a good and capturing smell along with the taste.
A good espresso should have a deep smell just like its taste.
It should be rich in smell and should provide no foul or burning smell.
4 Main Reasons Behind Bad Taste of Espresso Coffee
Why is there not just good-tasting espresso?
Again, it is not a proper thing that can be evaluated.
There can be many reasons behind the bad taste of an espresso.
Let us look at those issues or some of the most common issues that affect the taste of your espresso.
Reason 1: Lack of Proper Temperature
The espresso machine might not be working at a good temperature.
It can either be because of the high temperature or low temperature issue of the espresso machine.
Reason 2: Use of Stale Coffee Beans
The main reason behind the bad taste of espresso is the use of stale coffee beans.
When the coffee beans for making espresso are not fresh, then it affects the taste of your coffee too.
Reason 3: Inappropriate maintenance of machines
The best key to the management of electronic items is their proper cleaning and maintenance.
If an espresso machine is not maintained properly, it can run into several issues like internal clogging and jamming of various machine parts such as water tank, group head, portafilter, grinder, water pump, etc.
And if these machine parts are not cleaned and descaled regularly, then the debris and scale enter into your coffee.
This completely spoils the overall taste and flavor of your espresso.
Reason 4: Damaged Espresso Machine Components
Any change in the setting of the machine or any fault in the parts of the machine can directly or indirectly affect the taste of espresso.
Such as damage of the rubber parts of espresso machine can cause decrement in the pressure which results in a bad espresso taste.
Also, due to clogging and scale buildup, various parts of the machine get clogged.
After that, coffee can’t be brewed properly and water flow does not happen as intended.
All these issues directly and indirectly alter the taste and flavor of espresso.
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5 Best Practices to Achieve Good Espresso Taste
There are 5 main methods using which you can improve the taste of your espresso.
Those best practices are mentioned as follows.
Method 1: Use Best Quality Coffee Beans
The first and most important part of getting the best espresso taste is to use quality coffee beans.
You should always make sure that the coffee beans are of good quality, fresh and mainly Arabica coffee beans to get the best possible flavor.
Method 2: Choose the Right Grind Settings and Espresso Machine
If you want to get the best flavor and taste for your espresso, then you need to make sure that you are using the best coffee grinder and espresso machine.
I highly recommend you to use best quality espresso coffee machine like Breville Oracle Touch Espresso Machine to achieve the best espresso taste.
This coffee machine comes with pretty high quality of espresso coffee grinder and milk frothing system.
Its grinder helps you to get right kind of coffee grind which is ideal for making espresso.
Grinding the coffee beans is very important in this case because the extraction process is fully dependent on the size of the ground coffee beans.
Smaller the size of grind particles, higher the rate of extraction, and vice versa for the larger size.
For espresso, it is always recommended to have a fine grind as it requires a short brewing time.
But you can slightly change it depending on your taste and preference.
Check out the right grind settings of Breville Oracle Touch that are necessary to achieve the best espresso taste.
Its steam wand and milk frother also helps in getting the best espresso taste.
Method 3: Decide the Right Water Brew Ratio
The next step after planning the right grind settings is to decide on the water brew ratio.
How much amount of water you need in your espresso will decide the actual taste of your espresso.
You can have your ratio decided upon the type of recipe you are going for.
Method 4: Keep a Check on Water Quality and Temperature
The water quality can also bring a considerable change in the taste of your espresso.
I highly recommend you to use water with only neutral pH value.
Along with the quality, the temperature of the water can also affect the espresso taste.
The higher the temperature of the water, the higher the process of extraction will be.
90 to 93 degree Celsius temperature can be kept for the first time to experiment with your espresso.
Method 5: Even Distribution and Tamping of Coffee
This is the last step that you need to remember while preparing your espresso.
At the end, you need to evenly distribute the coffee in a portafilter to avoid any change in its taste.
This is an important step to follow because if you don’t do this, then water can leak from one side and stop at the other side due to over-packed coffee.
Just like that, you also need to tamp the coffee equally.
Tamping helps you extract espresso evenly.
Right tamping process can achieve smooth water flow through the ground coffee.
It is also important to achieve the best flavor from your ground coffee.
I believe if you follow these 5 best practices, then you will definitely be able to achieve the best espresso taste.
5 Factors to Help You Identify Good Espresso Shot vs Bad Espresso Shot
How can you identify a good espresso shot and a bad espresso shot?
There are several criteria that help you decide which one is good quality espresso shot and which one is of bad quality espresso shot.
I have listed the 5 most important factors for you below.
1. Hot Temperature:
For a good espresso shot, the temperature should be quite hot rather than lukewarm just when it was made.
If there is a drop or decrease in temperature, then it can affect the overall test of your espresso.
For an espresso shot, it should be hot enough that it can be consumed by most people within two minutes.
2. 3 Minutes Crema:
The top layer of the espresso is known as a crema.
That layer should be enough to cover up the underlying espresso completely.
For a good espresso shot, the crema should remain on the top for the minimum time of 3 minutes.
The maximum time it can stay longer is approx 5 minutes to get a good espresso shot.
3. A Little Bitter and Salty Taste:
The taste is one of the major factors that define the espresso shot as good or bad.
In general, espresso should be quite bitter with some saltiness lingering over it and at last the finishing touch with a sweetness.
But, if there is any slight change in the taste or an increase in the bitter taste, it can make the espresso shot lose its overall flavor and quality.
4. Delightful Aroma:
Just like the taste, an espresso needs to have a delightful aroma.
If there is any kind of foul smell or burnt smell, then you can consider that the espresso has a bad shot.
It is best to avoid drinking such bad espresso because eventually, you might taste the same thing that you have smelled.
5. Thicker Consistency:
The consistency of normal coffee is more like a normal liquid or like a syrup.
The espresso needs to have its consistency a little bit thicker than the normal coffee.
When finished from a cup, a good espresso should leave a small amount of brown residue in the cup.
Does Espresso Taste Bitter?
The answer is Yes, of course it tastes much bitter than your regular coffee.
From the start of this article, I am discussing a lot about the taste of espresso.
But do you think espresso should taste bitter?
I want to know what is your take on the overall taste of espresso.
Let us talk more details about this topic.
Coffee is generally bitter if the coffee powder is used in concentrated amount.
But is it the same case when it comes to the espresso?
Espresso is a more concentrated drink than your regular cup of coffee.
This also means that it should taste a little more bitter than the normal coffee.
But that is not the only factor affecting the bitterness of your espresso shots.
There are other major factors also such as the type of beans used, the process of extraction, and the temperature of the water used, etc.
For espresso, it is not required to leave a bitter taste in the mouth once consumed.
Instead, it should be like a type of dark chocolate that will taste bitter in the start but will leave a pleasant sweetness once finished.
However, if you found your espresso to leave a bitter taste in your mouth then probably it is not made properly.
The reason for a bitter espresso can be because of the use of stale coffee beans.
Coffee beans play a very important role in finalizing the taste of espresso.
Espresso tastes better when fresh Arabica beans are used.
If the beans used are from a long period of storage, then it can lead to a bitter espresso taste.
The other reason behind the bitter espresso can be the grinding of the beans.
If the beans are ground for a longer amount of time, it can lead to a burnt taste or in other words bitter taste.
The temperature of the water also plays a distinct role in providing a taste to espresso.
If the water is not hot enough, it can lead to an under taste of the espresso.
If it is hotter than required, then it can also lead to a burnt taste of espresso.
4 Factors that Define Espresso Taste Chart
Every espresso should be well documented from the start of its process from using the right beans to extracting the right flavor and taste of espresso.
Many things can affect espresso and its taste as mentioned earlier.
To get a proper shot or to get expertise in it, you should start learning from the first step.
An espresso is dependable on many factors and many of them can’t be controlled by us properly.
But there are few factors that we can take control of and try to improve the overall espresso taste in the process.
Here is the Espresso Taste Chart for you to understand easily.
1. Amount of Coffee Beans Required to Grind
This is a very important factor needed for understanding the mechanism behind good espresso.
The higher number of grounding beans will yield more espresso and lesser the amount will provide lesser espresso shot obviously.
2. Amount of Espresso in Your Cup
This factor mainly depends upon the machine.
It measures the amount of espresso in your cup.
3. Water Brew Ratio
The next important factor is the water-brew ratio.
It defines the relation between the number of ground beans used to the espresso yield within the cup.
The average ratio can be 1:2.
Here, 1 stands for the number of grounded beans whereas 2 stands for the yielding drops from that beans.
This ratio can be said as a scaling test which plays a pivotal role in deciding the final taste of your espresso.
4. Brew Time
This brewing time can be used for our analysis of data.
It is important to note down this number so that we can find the correlation between brewing period and taste of espresso.
And finally, you should perform proper observation of your espresso taste and its related changes that can happen throughout the grinding, brewing and extraction process.