The Espresso Shot
Deep deep brown, caressed by swirling clouds of golden crema. Heaven. Perfect espresso is our specialty. Sometimes we think it consumes us, instead of the other way round.
A great espresso blend is all about balance. Take Robusta; if it’s used, it must be used sparingly, but even in small doses its effects are magical. The thing is, Arabica on its own can sometimes result in under- or over-extraction. Robusta helps compensate for a bit of under-extraction because it brings a sense of body and flavour, particularly through milk. It also helps prevent mild over-extraction because it produces more crema, and that assists the flow.
Some espresso gurus argue that these extra crema bubbles act as aroma traps, keeping the aromas in the cup longer. Still, a fine line must be walked because too much Robusta (with its larger, less dense bubbles) can actually speed up dissipation of the crema.
Robusta is especially useful as a kind of preservative. Even when a blend is months old, the Robusta will continue to give a huge head of crema. With Arabica, both the crema (and the flavour, for that matter) fade much more quickly.
Anyway, it’s all food for thought. Now would you like an espresso with that?