If you were to meet coffee enthusiasts (such as ourselves) one of their favourite topics of discussion would be Espressos.
Espresso is the process of brewing by which the classic, dark-roasted cup of black coffee, is made. And it is possibly one of the most difficult and potentially the most expensive way to make coffee. The word ‘Espresso’ derives from the Italian verb meaning “to put under pressure,” which is exactly how the coffee is made. Piping hot water and steam are forced through very finely ground coffee to produce a unique style of coffee with bite and great persistence on the plate. Not only is it the rich, sweet flavour that makes an espresso a wonderful drink - when it is good, it has an indescribable tang, a quality that satisfies the drinker.
Authentic espresso accounts for only 10% of Italian coffee, even though it is, literally, the basis for the other 90%, which is cappuccino - espresso with a milky frothy top.
There are two main types of espresso machines available: piston - operated machines and electric machines.
Piston-operated machines contain a spring-loaded mechanism that forces the water through the coffee. These piston-handles machines look wonderful, and in the hands of a skilled barista (a person who serves in a coffee bar), they produce excellent coffee. These machines are not ideal for operators whom lack enough experience, however, more and more people are turning to the fully automated machines that simply require the user to flip a switch and wait until the cup is one-third or three-quarters full before switching it off. Nowadays the only skill seems to lie in getting the milk for cappuccino to froth, which would take a lot of time and practice. The electric espresso machine is easier to operate and far more practical.