Brewing espresso at home is nothing short of an art. It needs everything to be perfect to enjoy that rich foamy demitasse cup of gold. There are many factors that can affect the taste of the espresso. And the big shot that brings the full life and flavor to every cup is getting the right espresso coffee roast.
What Is the Ideal Roast for Espresso?
The best espressos are extracted from dark roasts (preferably the Italian roast). Picking out the best roast for espresso is actually a pretty complicated task. But there is also one major thing to consider, your taste.
Why Is Dark Roast Preferred in Making Espresso?
- Solubility. Espresso is a quick extraction of coffee. It takes about 20 to 30 seconds for you to brew an espresso in an espresso machine. This means that you need a roast that will easily be extracted when it comes in contact with water (in this case, it’s steam). Dark roasts are more water soluble than lighter roasts.
- Sweet Spot Margin. In addition to solubility, dark roasts also offer a wider sweet spot. This means that it is easier to get the great taste from the coffee when using a dark roast. This margin also refers to a wider margin of error. If in case you happen to make a mistake in getting espresso, you will still have a good chance of getting a great cup despite. It may be possible to use medium coffee roast in making espresso but getting the beautiful god shot will be difficult.
- Flavorful. Espresso is the expression of everything great about coffee. The flavor, richness, intensity, and sweetness of coffee beans are all highlighted in espresso. In the few seconds where steam and ground coffee make love, there is less time for the acidity of the coffee to leach into your espresso. When using lighter roasts, you will end up with something close to brewed coffee than espresso.
- Low acidity. The darker the roast, the less acidic it is. Dark coffee roasts are very soluble and the more soluble your coffee is, the less acidic.
Why Are Dark Coffee Roast Less Acidic?
Lighter coffee roasts are dry making it very porous. Since the acidity from the coffee is also water soluble, it will just as easily leach into the water. Dark roasts, on the other hand, form oils that eventually reduce the overall acidity in the coffee. Actually, the oil that forms when coffee is roasted provides an environment that is less likely for the acidity of the coffee to dissolve and leak into your coffee.
How dark should my coffee roast be?
This now depends on your taste. If you are roasting your beans at home, a dark roast starts from the 2nd crack. You’ll hear the second crack starting from approximately 14 minutes. The favorite roasts used in making espresso or coffee in a Moka Pot are the following:
- French roast
- Italian roast
- Espresso roast
- Continental roast
- Spanish roast
On a personal note, I often pick between an Italian roast and an espresso roast for the best espresso coffee roast. However, dark is not the only espresso roast as coffee lovers discuss.
Add Your Personal Touch
A great article as a starting point is on this page titled The Best Beans for Espresso. It’s loaded title, the best beans might be completely different for two people. So take it with a grain of salt, as you would any article that promises they’ll reveal the best of anything. It is though a great exercise teaching you how to choose your own beans.
Coffee is just as good as its espresso. The quality of most coffee is measured at its purest form, espresso. The best coffee used to make espressos, in my opinion, are coffee beans with low acidity. Some coffee roasts with low acid are from Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, and Sumatra and are best-made espresso in French roasts. Since they are low acid coffee, to begin with, the natural richness of these coffee roasts is translated to the brew.
Some types of coffee are popular for their acidity. An example is Kenyan origin coffee and the acidity is also manifest in the espresso. High acid coffee is great for brewing coffee but less appealing as espresso.
In the end, the best espresso coffee roast will always depend on you. Coffee can be an art and a delicious cuisine depending on who is drinking it.