Last Updated on October 12, 2022 by Timothy Byron Smith
It can be difficult to know what espresso tastes like, especially when making it at home. If you don’t get the espresso shot right, your latte will taste bad, your cappuccino will taste even worse, and you’ll never be satisfied with your espresso-based drinks. But how to know if an espresso shot is brewed nicely or not?
With some guidance, you will no longer need to bother by this question! Your espresso is close to your heart and we know that. Here we will show you how to make the perfect espresso with the perfect taste, as well as how to enhance it.
What is An Espresso Shot Supposed to Taste Like?
So, what flavors are you actually aspiring to cultivate when brewing a shot of espresso? Espresso is an extremely concentrated beverage brewed using finely ground coffee beans. Although its flavors can differ depending on the beans you use, there is a consistency to it you want to achieve.
Espresso typically has an intensely strong flavor, with a bitter and kind of a lemony tart taste. You can even taste nut notes and a hint of chocolate. People often comment about a slightly sweet finish to espresso. However, if it tastes very sour, excessively bitter, and has a watery texture, it wasn’t made right.
Is Espresso Sweeter Than Coffee?
It is, in fact, the opposite.
Although the espresso flavors can vary quite a lot depending on the beans used and the way it is brewed. However, it will generally taste intense, bold, and concentrated. While there is a hint of sweetness at the end, espresso isn’t usually known for its sweetness.
However, the coffee lacks the level of caramelized-ness and intensity of espresso. As such, it tends to be sweeter than espresso.
Is Espresso Stronger Than Coffee?
Espresso is known to have a higher caffeine content compared to coffee. Research data shows that espresso has 63 milligrams of caffeine in an ounce whereas coffee contains a mere 17 milligrams of caffeine in an ounce.
Comparing both ounces to ounces, espresso is more concentrated. This makes it stronger than coffee. One can even tell how strong it is simply by the richness and boldness of the drink. It is consumed in tiny amounts because of its high concentration.
Espresso Texture: How to Find the Perfect Espresso Color?
The eyes feast before the mouth tastes. That is the golden rule. If your espresso shot appeals to the eye, you know you’ve nailed the brewing!
So, if you’ve done the brewing right your espresso should look dark brown in color, almost black-ish. On top of that, it will have a foamy crown of the crema on top. While the crema will disappear after a minute or two, the color of the coffee will remain the same.
If your espresso shot appears light brown in color, there has been some mistake. Mostly, it can be due to under extraction and excessive water in your espresso. For the perfect espresso color, make sure the grind size is fine and precise and there is no water seepage.
How to Make Espresso Taste Better?
To extract the perfectly delicious shot of espresso, you need to maintain certain regulations. These include the optimal temperature, the optimal pressure, fine grinding, even tamping, and adequate extraction time. One tip is to get a good espresso machine to handle the regulations for you.
Since a good portion of your espresso is water, you need to use good filtered water for your espresso. The pressure should not be below 9 bars for a good shot of espresso and you should extract for about 20 to 30 seconds.
Finally, fresh coffee beans create a beautiful crema. If you are not planning to buy fresh beans every time (which is the normal thing to do), find a good spot to store them so they remain fresh for long.
Espresso Flavors: What You Need to Know
Here are some flavors you are looking for in a great shot of espresso. If this is how it tastes in your mouth, you made a grand cup of espresso!
Bitterness: Bitterness is the core of espresso. Bitterness is the flavor that adds depth to your foods and beverages. Therefore, a perfectly brewed shot of espresso will have a bitter taste to it. Although, not excessively bitter, but intense.
Acidity: Acidity is another unique flavor of espresso. It’s like the zing feeling you get in your mouth upon eating a lemon. Espresso features just the right amount of this acidity which is complemented by its concentrated nature.
Too much acidity, however, can ruin the taste in your mouth while too little will make the beverage bland.
Sweetness: Espresso is not exactly famous for being sweet – it’s why many people don’t like it. However, it does have a sweet finish to it. The roasting of the coffee beans brings about a hint of sweetness and a caramelized flavor that leaves a good aftertaste.
Cold Brew VS Espresso Taste
Compared to cold brew, espresso prides itself on richer flavors and texture.
Cold-brew is significantly less acidic than espresso and features dark flavors. You can taste intense cocoa flavors. On the other hand, espresso has a richer and more intense texture. It has bold flavors; bitterness, earthy taste, with nutty notes and a hint of chocolate and caramel.
Does Espresso have a Sour Taste?
No, your espresso is not supposed to sour under any good condition. Espresso generally has the acidity to its taste but that is very different from the sourness. If the espresso tastes sour and puckers up your mouth, there is a fat chance it was under-extracted.
So, what does espresso taste like? For a coffee lover, it tastes like it was sent directly from heaven. And how can you tell that? You can tell by the richness and bitterness of the flavors, the intensity of the texture, and hints of sweet, caramelized, and chocolaty taste.
Your perfectly brewed shot of espresso will look a dark shade of brown that’s almost black and will be boasting a beautiful frothy crema on top. Remember, you never compromise on the crema! Once you ace this look and taste, you’ll make the most amazing espresso-based drinks ever!
Tim is the author and webmaster of this blog. He is a coffee aficionado who has always strived to succeed by simplifying the many facets of the coffee business into engaging and informative writing. In addition to helping readers discover their next brew, he intends to educate them about espresso and coffee.