Delicious espresso starts with a basic understanding of the espresso recipe. We know what you’re thinking: A recipe for espresso? But why? Simple: Like any culinary undertaking, crafting great espresso drinks requires the manipulation of a few variables that will impact the outcome. Yes, you can pack a bunch of coffee into a basket, push a button, and have a shot of espresso—just like you can throw a piece of salmon into a hot pan and have a cooked piece of salmon. But if you want to have great espresso—or salmon, for that matter—you’ll need to think about technique.
Espresso drinks always start with two ingredients: coffee and water. Sometimes we add steamed milk, and sometimes we add Orange Mocha Syrup, but the basic ingredients remain the same. So why do different espresso shots from different coffee shops taste different? How the bean was roasted, the ratio of coffee to water, the time it takes for the machine to extract the shot, and the temperature of the water all impact the beverage that goes into your cup. Together, these variables make up Basic Espresso Theory, a philosophy that helps baristas understand the most important variables that go into making great coffee. Think of this Basic Espresso Theory as a stool with three legs, each equally important in crafting your own perfect espresso.
Wrap your head around it, and you’ll start to learn how to finely tune the flavours and textures of your espresso drink.