Updated: Aug 24
How to recognize a perfect espresso
In the last few years always more coffee roasters have land into the market of pods and capsules with their coffees. Obviously everybody declare “Our coffee is the best”, but how can you know if a coffee is really good or if it's better to avoid it? Here are the 5 requirements for a perfect coffee.
When you bought the new coffee machine they gave you some pods or capsules of the brand owner for free, but honestly you don’t like them. Not everybody have to like the coffee of Nespresso, Lavazza or Dolce Gusto.
Nowadays it’s plenty of coffee brands, many coffee roasters started to produce pods and compatible capsules with the most famous espresso coffee machines on the market.
Flavored coffee, coffee with ginseng, barley coffee…the choice is really wide, but to give us the energy we need a coffee with a capital C.
First of all we always need to take care of our espresso machine. Maintenance and cleaning are essential for the correct operation of the appliance, but also for our health!
HOW IS IT A PERFECT ESPRESSO COFFEE
Obviously the taste is subjective, you can prefer a lighter coffee with a lower percentage of Robusta variety or vice versa, but the quality is confirmed by some characteristics.
Here are the 5 characteristics for a perfect coffee:
Attractive and distinctive, the layer of cream entirely covers the surface of our coffee in the cup, completely hiding it from our view. It is formed when the right pressure generated by the machine is combined with a good quality of ground inside our capsules.
The color of the cream
Thanks to the color it is possible to understand if the coffee we use is good for our machine or not. The layer of cream must have an intense hazelnut color with some reddish reflections.
If the cream is of a darker brown, there is the probability that the beans have been ground too finely and the result will always be an over-extracted coffee. On the other hand, if the cream has a lighter color, we will have an under-extracted coffee, due to a coarser grind not suitable for our machine.
Obviously the color tone will lighten the more the coffee will be lengthened.
Cream not foam
There is a subtle but important difference between cream and foam. The cream of a perfect coffee is homogeneous and compact to look at, almost to look like a small cap on our cup.
The perfect espresso has such a density that the sugar literally floats for a few moments before gently sinking into the cup. Once we have drunk our coffee we will be able to notice the residues around the inside walls of the cup.
The scent of coffee must pervade our senses from the moment we open our pod to the moment we leave the house!
Why can’t I get a perfect coffee?
Now that you know how to recognize a perfect coffee, let's see what are the reasons why it is not so easy to obtain it.
Attrition of the machine
Coffee machines on the market have different prices according to their quality, but even the best machine can be ruined if not taken care of. It is important, from time to time, to carry out a general cleaning of the appliance by removing the limescale. So the more you use your espresso machine, the more you should clean it.
This point is relative according to the type of machine used, but as a rule at the bar for a good espresso you need a minimum of 6 grams of ground coffee.
As already explained previously, by grinding the coffee beans too finely, a coffee called over-extract is obtained which will make the cream in our cup a dark brown. On the contrary, a coarser grind will give a more liquid consistency to our coffee, under extracted, and its cream will be light brown (too light!).
Too old coffee
This last point perhaps needs less explanation. If the ground coffee inside our capsules is too old, we won't like what we see in our cup!
The best practice would be to store coffee pods and capsules in a cool and dry place as with ground coffee, which must be kept in the fridge once the package is opened. Coffee oxidizes easily once ground, which is why it is sold completely sealed.
After having learned to distinguish a good coffee from something we would avoid at all costs, we just have to choose the brand that best suits our taste!