An espresso is the base of all barista-made coffees. But why is it called ‘espresso’? Let’s get more familiar with the classic Italian beverage and popular espresso culture.
Espresso was first introduced in Italy by Luigi Bezzera. Not long after, espresso culture began spreading across Europe. Luigi Bezzera was one of the first coffee machine inventors who enhanced the first-ever patented espresso machine, which was created in Torino in 1884, by the hotel and café entrepreneur, Angelo Moriondo.
What does espresso mean?
Moriondo needed to prepare and serve coffee to his guests as fast as possible. And because his hotel was in front of the Turin Railway station, he adopted the term 'espresso’ - like the fastest trains of the era.
Espresso machines work by pulling hot water through the tight puck of the coffee ground. It needs significant pressure to bring out the coffee taste as quickly as possible.
Each type of coffee bean has unique taste characteristics, and testers or baristas often use the term ‘intensity’ to describe them. Put simply, the meaning of ‘espresso intensity’ is its taste and aroma. A description of coffee intensity is often followed by the word ‘body’, which also reflects the depth of taste,
The origin of the espresso coffee bean, and the various types of bean, both affect the intensity. The way in which the bean is roasted also plays a part in how an espresso tastes. Arabica or Robusta blends are probably the best-known base for espresso. Arabica has sweeter and softer tones, whereas Robusta is more intense.
When buying espresso pods and blends from the supermarket, the packaging usually marks the intensity. It’ll often use a scale of 5-10 – and sometimes 12 – to describe the intensity after brewing. This scale isn’t official and relies solely on the coffee company’s judgement. In fact, your taste buds may decide it’s different to what the packaging says.
As a general guide, if the packaging rates the bean intensity under 4, it has a light body and delicate aroma. 7 is the middle ground, and this will mean it has a more decadent aroma and slightly stronger taste. If you’re looking for an intense, strong-bodied coffee, go for a 10 rating!