Although its concept likely saw different iterations beforehand, the first patent for an espresso machine was granted to an inventor in Turin, Italy in 1884. Meaning “made on the spur of the moment”, espresso was born out of desire to brew coffee quicker. In addition to its speedy brew time, typically under 30 seconds, its concentrated flavors make it a great accompaniment to larger amounts of milk. Classic drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos are all espresso shots with varying quantities of steamed milk.
We’ll say it again: espresso refers to a method of brewing, and not a specific type of coffee bean. Any coffee can be used to make espresso. However, depending on your preferences, there are certain types of coffee that lend themselves to brewing especially delicious espresso. Generally, coffees at a slightly darker roast level perform better as espresso. A coffee’s brightness and acidity is particularly accentuated when brewed as espresso, and using too light of a roast can produce unpleasant, sour flavors. Along with flavor, roast level can also affect how much ‘crema’ is present in the shot. Darker roasted coffees tend to produce more crema than more lightly roasted coffees. Given that they have greater levels of oils present, darker roasts can also be more prone to causing clumping in your grinder. It’s good practice to run a grinder cleaner through your machine every few weeks or so, depending on your rate of use.
Although we do offer our flagship Espresso “Italian Roast”, many Schuil coffees make for great espresso. For an espresso with a little less smoke flavor and more nuttiness than Espresso “Italian Roast”, you could use our Dutch Breakfast Blend. If you want a bit more vibrancy and brightness in your espresso, you could try our Costa Rica La Minita. With an espresso machine at home, it can also be fun to taste a coffee brewed as espresso and as drip coffee side by side.