Understanding “what is an Espresso?” has caused many a headache among our customers. This is with good reason, seeing as it appears even the internet can’t agree on a definition. The good news is that, here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we can. While this is potentially one of the most misunderstood aspects of the world of Coffee, there is a simple answer.

In this blog, we will talk you through the ins and outs of “what is an Espresso?”. Once you know the facts, you can try some of our delicious Coffee products right here. Best of all, we pack everything fresh to order, ensuring not only quality but also consistency. What more could you want from your morning cup of Coffee?

Common Misconceptions About Your Espresso

Common Misconceptions About Your Espresso

Let’s start by correcting some common misconceptions. Contrary to popular belief, an Espresso is NOT a type of Coffee bean. Anyone who tells you otherwise is spreading falsehoods.

Despite misleading packaging from other companies, all Coffee beans, under the right circumstances, can be espresso beans. Likewise, all beans labelled “espresso” can be brewed as so-called “regular” Coffee.

Put simply, the bean doesn’t come into the equation.

Essentially, a Coffee deemed an “espresso” can use both Arabica and Robusta beans in its making. However, specific bean characteristics, such as how they’re grown and prepared, can lead themselves to create the perfect espresso.

Nevertheless, an espresso is NOT a roasting style, either. Although a dark roast is common when making espresso, there is no such thing as a specific “espresso roast”.

Put simply, roasting doesn’t come into the equation.

As a side note, and again contrary to popular belief, the name of this Coffee is NOT pronounced “expresso”. Saying this in a Coffee shop will likely be met by a number of unimpressed faces! The CORRECT pronunciation is: “ess-PRESS-oh”.

What is an Espresso?

What is an Espresso?

Now that we’ve cleared a few things up, it’s time to look at “what is an espresso?”. Indeed, it’s time to answer this seemingly confusing question once and for all.

An “espresso” refers, for the most, to the process applied to its creation. It is the product of forcing pressurised hot water through finely-ground Coffee - also known as “pulling a shot”. A so-called “shot” of espresso is, in essence, a concentrated form of Coffee.

If you’d like to get even more technical, the Specialty Association of America describes it as:

“ a 25-35ml (.85-1.2 ounce) beverage prepared from 7-9 grams (14-18 grams for a double) of Coffee through which clean water of 195 °-205 °F (92 °-95°C) has been forced at 9-10 atmospheres of pressure, and where the grind of the Coffee is such that the brew time is 20-30 seconds.”

When it comes to drinking espresso, especially when it’s well-made, expect a smooth yet complex bitter-sweet balance of flavour notes. It’s also likely that it’ll be high in caffeine, too. You can read more about this in our blog, “How Much Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee?

Where to Buy Espresso Coffee 

Where to Buy Espresso Coffee

From cappuccinos to lattes, the majority of drinks you find on a Coffee shop menu use espresso brewing methods. Furthermore, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company stock several Coffee Beans that are perfect for making espresso.

Why not start with Pure Arabica Espresso Roast Coffee? This is a blend made with 100% Arabica beans. It offers an intricate balance of flavours from all over the world, including Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea. Any barista would be proud to work with this beverage, known for its hints of malty sweetness and toasted almonds.

Another option would be that of Cafe Rico Espresso Roast Coffee. This is a strong blend with an equally strong ‘personality’. It includes beans from Mogiana in Brazil and Huila in Colombia. Furthermore, it contains Indian Mysore Coffee, Indonesian Sumatra Coffee and Ethiopian Coffee from Illubabor or Kaffa, depending on the batch. Combined, they make for a match made in heaven.

If you’d prefer the ethical route, our Rainforest Alliance Espresso Roast Coffee is an excellent choice. This particular beverage stands testament to the ever-increasing sustainable practices of the global Coffee industry. It is one way of supporting a growing network of farmers, scientists and businesses doing ‘their bit’ for the environment. Make a change today.

Whichever one you decide upon, expect outstanding quality and, of course, taste. All of our Coffees, after all, are roasted using the latest state-of-the-art Neuhaus Neotec fluidised air-bed system. This system primarily uses convection heat transfer to roast the beans, thus ensuring quality.

Author: Richard Smith

Partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Richard Smith is a Tea expert, entrepreneur, and owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Part of a family of renowned Tea planters dating back four generations, he was born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, where he spent his childhood between Tea Estates in Assam and Darjeeling.

In the late 1970s, having accumulated years of knowledge in the industry, Mr Smith and his mother, Janet Smith, moved to Kent, South East England, to establish a Tea business in the village of Pluckley. Their early days of packing Tea Bags by hand from chests of 10,000 prompted the creation of the company’s flagship infusion known as Pluckley Tea. It remains our most popular product today.

Mr Smith, who studied economics at London Polytechnic, has since specialised in over 1,000 types of Loose Leaf Tea - in addition to around 70 varieties of Roast Coffee - from around the world. These are now available at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where everything is still packed by hand and fresh to order, not only to honour tradition but to ensure the utmost quality and consistency.