The daily dilemma for many, the topic of discussions for baristas, the big question when buying a coffee maker for your home, the smart thing to order in a specialty coffee: espresso or filtered coffee?

Walk with us through different concepts about these two very different ways to drink coffee and draw your own conclusions later 🙂

1. Espresso

La Marzocco espresso machine

Italians will probably call it the “(only) right way to drink coffee”. An espresso is a strong and small coffee drink that is made in an espresso machine. An espresso normally consists of 15-16g of coffee, very hot (almost boiling) water, extracted in 25-30 seconds to deliver 1 ounce approx of coffee. An espresso is believed to be a boost of energy in the morning and after meals that helps a faster digestion and to wake you up to continue your day.

In barista terms, an espresso is a drink that will allow you to see and taste different characteristics from a specialty coffee, in specific: cream, moderate acidity, body, and intense aroma.

It’s important to note that plenty of beverages are made from espresso, such as lattes, flat whites, cappuccinos, cortados, iced lattes, americanos, and more.   

 

2. Coffee:

UV60 brewing method

First thing to understand: americano is not a filtered coffee. Americano is an espresso with added hot water.

In many countries around the world people drink filtered coffee. It’s incredible to see how many cultures in all continents share a “sock-method” to brew softer coffee that is always drank without milk. There are many different types of brewing that are widely used in specialty coffee: UV60, Aeropress, Chemex, Moccamaster, and more. The recipe will vary depending on the method, but normally it will call for a ratio of 1:16 coffee to water, compare that to espresso’s 1:2 and imagine the huge difference in flavour concentration! Temperature is also normally lower when preparing filtered coffees.

In barista terms, a filtered coffee will allow you to perceive more sweetness and a softer acidity, less body, more depth in flavour, and will allow you to discover amazing flavours and aromas like dark chocolate, caramel, honey, and red berries. Some high altitude African coffees can even bring floral aroma and actually remind you of lavender or rose, to give you an example.   

 

Drinking a filtered coffee is more of a ceremony where we can take our time to taste and discover the coffee we are drinking, as opposed to an espresso that is a shot of energy that is normally drank fast and when people are in a hurry.

We think is that no method is better than the other, it all depends on your taste, time available, and even time of the day; many people prefer an espresso in the morning and then a filtered coffee in the afternoon. There is no right answer, it depends on you.

Our advice is always: try, try, and try some more! The world of coffee has so much to offer and by trying different origins, altitudes, brewing methods, temperatures, grinding, recipes, you will discover a universe of flavours and aromas that you never imagined. It’s worth the time!

Write to you soon, in the meantime we’ll be drinking an amazing specialty coffee from the region of Huila/Colombia in a UV60 like most afternoons.

Drink good coffee and be good!

Astrid       

       

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