Before sachet packets and stylish George-Clooney-sleek power machines came into play these were the tools required for a perfect cup of cafinated goodness: a hand grinder for the beans, a boiler, a hand puller and a metal vessel for heating and frothing the milk.
A few facts to assist if you were hand pulling your espresso:
- The Beans should be ground just before use.
- A dark roast is preferable though only in Southern Italy is it holy writ.
- Only the freshest water should be used and I have been assured by my friend Marco that the calcium loaded water here in Roma makes the best espresso.
- The equipment should be warmed before use.
- 7 oz of fine grind coffee should make a single 1-1.5 oz shot - 14 oz for a longo
- The grounds should be tamped into the portafilter with 20-50 pounds (depending on the grind) of pressure to make a compact cake for the water to flow through.
- The water should not be boiling but almost - 195F
- The water should be forced through the grinds at a high pressure - 135 PSI
- It should take between 23-28 seconds to extract the coffee - anything less or longer and the grind is wrong or an adjustment in tamping is necessary.
- There should be a dark golden brown crema floating on top
And to all anyone who recoils in horror from a shot of espresso after dinner or tells you how they would never sleep if they did that: a 30 mL (1 fluid ounce) shot of espresso has about half the caffeine of a standard 180 mL (6 fluid ounce) cup of drip brewed coffee. And if you think the coffee will keep you awake then have a shot of grappa or amaro to go with it.
12 decembre - Santa Giovanna Francesca Frémiot de Chantal