In Minneapolis, I visited Cafe Imports — a green coffee trading company — and was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in a cupping of Brazilian, Peruvian, Indonesian, and Nicaraguan coffees. I also sampled a complex Kenyan auction lot coffee brewed both in a Hario pour-over and in a Clover.
Later, while out riding in the rain, I visited the Dunn Bros. Coffee shop that adjoins Calhoun Cycle, which I wrote about here.
At Dunn Bros., the ambiance was cozy and bright — a perfect spot to enjoy a coffee. The espresso was okay. I probably should have ordered a latte or something because they don’t do a true espresso.
So what is a true espresso?
Well, I recently came across a little booklet written by Luis Pascoal, a coffee visionary and owner of Daterra Coffee in Brazil. He describes the Five Dimensions of Espresso:
- The cups: The volume of coffee is so small, the cup must be specifically designed for the espresso brew….The barista should fill just half the espresso cup with 30ml or 1 fl. oz. of coffee.
- The crema: The foam’s longevity is fundamental: it should stay in the cup for one minute or more. It should also be thick (1/8 of an inch) with a golden caramel-stripped color, and able to support the weight of a spoonful of sugar for a few seconds before it sinks into the coffee.
- The aroma and flavor: The mingling of flavors and aromas that can be discovered each time we drink a good espresso….130 aromatic oils and 3% natural sugar in coffee [deliver] an outstanding flavor.
- The temperature of the liquid protected by the crema: Espresso should be served pleasantly warm to hot.
- The aftertaste: The complex aromatic oils that first release a tremendous flavor then a smooth aftertaste…a sensation that can linger in the mouth for as long as 30 minutes. The residue oils left on the sides of the cup should continue to exude various, pleasant, sweet aromas.