What Does Espresso Taste Like?

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It can be difficult to describe the flavor of espresso to someone who has never tasted it. So what does espresso taste like?

The ideal taste profile for espresso is rich and dark, like dark chocolate or caramel, with a hint of sweetness and earthiness. Grinding size, water temperature, water pressure, and extraction time are all factors that contribute to the ideal flavor. Under extraction can lead to sour espresso flavors, so the proper brewing time is essential.

Read on to learn everything about the ideal flavor of espresso and the factors that can impact its taste.

What Is Espresso?

Espresso pulling from the machine

Espresso is an Italian coffee specialty that is both robust and flavorful. Single “shots” in a demitasse cup are the norm. Pressurized hot water is used to permeate finely crushed coffee beans.

Because espresso coffee is made from finely ground beans, it has a higher concentration, a thicker body, and a thicker layer of crema than normal coffee.

Espresso is more than simply a beverage. It’s the same word for both the drink and the method of preparation.

What Color Should Espresso Be?

Double espresso

If you’re trying to offer food or drink, you should know that appearance is important to potential customers.

It’s the same with coffee.

Espresso at its finest has a deep brown, nearly black, hue with a dense micro-foam on top. If you wait a minute, the crema will deflate, but the coffee won’t lose its original hue.

An insufficient amount of espresso has been brewed if it has a light brown color. There was a similar incident before, and it was traced to a faulty coffee grinder. My espresso was watery, harsh, and devoid of crema because water was escaping through the coffee grind.

Don’t give up if at first you don’t succeed; perfecting the procedure might take some time.

Ingredients of a Great Espresso

Coffee Beans

Medium roasted coffee beans on a table
Image credit: Yanadhom, Shutterstock

If you prefer a strong Italian espresso, then we recommend 100% Arabica beans dark roasted from Colombia, Brazil, or Central America. Volcanica is our top pick, especially their Costa Rican Dark Roast, and their Espresso Dark Roast coffee makes incredibly strong and smooth espressos.

Coffee beans storage

If you don’t use fresh coffee beans, you won’t see the beautiful crema in your espresso. We recommend good coffee storage to keep coffee beans fresh.

Filtered Water

Since the drink is 99% water, you should use good quality freshwater when making espresso. Filtered water is always best. If necessary, you can also use bottled water. Although some places have drinkable tap water, we prefer to filter water before putting it in the coffee maker.

Water pressure

Espresso machine brewing a double espresso

Every manual espresso machine has several water pressure settings. To make a good espresso, the machine should be set to at least 9 bars of pressure. Your machine should be preset to this level, but it’s a good idea to check it before taking your first pull.

If the pressure is too low, the extraction will take too long, and the coffee will taste burnt. Too much water pressure will ruin your espresso and dirty your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does espresso taste like coffee?

Drip coffee tastes different from espresso because espresso is roasted and brewed differently. Espresso usually has a bolder, less acidic flavor, with a more well-rounded and full-bodied finish. It tastes more concentrated and has a rich coffee flavor.

Does a shot of espresso taste like anything?

A small, properly pulled shot of espresso tastes thick and smooth on your tongue, without any distasteful sour or bitter flavors. The flavor should also linger pleasantly on your tongue after drinking the shot.

Is espresso bitter or sweet?

Espresso is brewed at greater pressures for a shorter amount of time than normal coffee, using a finer grind of coffee beans.

Espresso, then, has a stronger flavor and is more bitter than normal coffee. The greatest espressos, however, have a flavor between between softly sweet dark chocolate and light caramel.

Espresso’s flavor can range from mild to intense depending on the beans used, the degree of roasting, the length of time the espresso is extracted, and the temperature of the water.

The Bottom Line on What Does Espresso Taste Like

What does espresso taste like? The ideal taste profile for espresso is one that is rich and dark, like dark chocolate or caramel, with a hint of sweetness and earthiness. True espresso lovers should never drink an espresso without the coveted crema on top.

Once you master the art of making espresso, all of your espresso-based beverages, including lattes and macchiatos, will improve in flavor. We hope you’ve learned a lot about the correct espresso taste profile from this post.


Featured image credit: Free-Photos, Pixabay