Espresso is a lot of things to many coffee drinkers. For many of us, it is simply a way to wake up in the morning. But for others of us, drinking espresso is akin to drinking a very fine wine or aged Scotch. Something to be savored.
However you view espresso, there are many opinions on the flavor. Do you like to have your espresso with a dark roasted bean, and with a bittersweet falvor? Or do you like espresso that is lighter, with a tang of citrus?
Much of the variety in the flavor of espresso will boil down to whether you most enjoy an espresso coffee blend, or a single origin or single estate coffee bean. All three of these have their time and place, but they will give you quite different flavor profiles.
A coffee blend done right can have different types of beans with various characteristics that play off of each other in a most harmonious fashion. On the other hand, a single origin or single estate bean will have mostly the same flavor characteristics.
Whether you select a coffee blend or a single estate/single origin coffee, the sheer nature of the extraction process with espresso will magnify the taste of the type of beans you use. This is because the rather extreme nature of the espresso process – forcing hot water at very high pressure through highly ground coffee – will exaggerate the flavors of the beans.
While many coffee and espresso lovers prefer the single flavor nature of single estate and single origin coffees, many espresso blends are proprietary and closely guarded secrets. However, more roasters are starting to be more open about the different beans in a blend.
One of the reasons we so prefer single estate coffee is that we know exactly where each bean comes from, and what its flavor profile is. This allows both the customer and the barista to have more control over how each shot is made.
Although we in the end will nearly always prefer single bean brews from one region or one coffee estate, others still are partial to blends with their espresso. Whichever you prefer, it is important to find a very high quality source for your coffee blend or single estate/single origin coffee beans.