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What is a Barista?
In English, barista is a name applied to a person, usually a coffeehouse employee, who prepares and serves espresso-based coffee drinks. The word is borrowed from Italian, where it has a wider meaning of "bartender". The term persists in American coffeehouse jargon, with many employers such as Starbucks officially utilizing the title for such employees. Often, among coffee enthusiasts, the term is reserved for one who has acquired some level of expertise or particular skill in the preparation of such drinks. Within certain circles, its meaning is expanding to include what might be called a "coffee sommelier" — a professional who is highly skilled in coffee preparation with a comprehensive understanding of coffee, coffee blends, espresso, quality, coffee varieties, roast degree, espresso equipment and maintenance.
The word barista is of Italian origin. In Italy, a barista is a male or female "bartender", who typically works behind a counter, serving both hot drinks (such as espresso), and cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The plural in English is baristas, while in Italian the plural is baristi for masculine or mixed sex (baristi: “barmen”, “bartenders”) or bariste for feminine (bariste: “barmaids”).
Countries producing coffee
Colombia · Costa Rica · Ecuador · El Salvador · Haiti · India · Indonesia · Jamaica · Kenya · The Philippines · Vietnam
Species and varieties
Coffea arabica: Kenya AA, Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain · Coffea canephora (Coffea robusta): Kopi Luwak · Coffea liberica: Kape Barako · Single-origin
Major chemicals in coffee
Caffeine · Cafestol · Caffeic acid
Coffee roasting · Home roasting coffee · Corretto · Decaffeination
Coffeemaker · Coffee percolator · Espresso (lungo, ristretto) · Espresso machine · Drip brew · French press · Turkish coffee · Instant coffee · Chemex · Moka pot · AeroPress · Presso
Popular coffee beverages
Affogato · Americano/Long black · Café au lait/Café con leche · Caffè corretto/Liqueur coffee · Cafe mocha · Cà phê sữa đá · Cappuccino · Coffee milk · Cortado · Espresso · Ristretto · Flat white · Frappuccino · Greek frappé coffee · Iced coffee · Indian filter coffee · Irish coffee · Latte · Macchiato (espresso, latte) · Red eye
Dandelion coffee · Caro · Barley tea · Postum · Roasted grain beverage · Barleycup
Coffee and lifestyle
Coffee culture · Coffee ceremony · Coffeehouse · List of coffeehouse chains · Coffee Palace · Barista · Caffè · Café · Kopi tiam · Viennese café · Caffè sospeso · Coffee cupping · Coffee break/Fika
Caffè espresso, espresso, or expresso is a concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground coffee.
The reason for this is that sublimation is different under pressure.
Espresso was developed in Milan, Italy, in the early 20th century, but up until the mid-1940s it was a beverage produced solely with steam pressure. The invention of the spring piston lever machine and its subsequent commercial success changed espresso into the beverage as it is known today.
The defining characteristics of espresso include a thicker consistency than drip coffee, a higher amount of dissolved solids than drip coffee per relative volume, and a serving size that is usually measured in shots, which have traditionally been between 25 and 30 mL (around 1 fluid ounce) in size. Many of espresso's chemical components quickly degrade by oxidation. A distinguishing characteristic of espresso is "crema," a reddish-brown foam that floats on the surface and is composed of vegetable oils, proteins and sugars. Crema has elements of both emulsion and foam colloid.
As a result of the high-pressure brewing process, all of the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of coffee are very concentrated. For this reason, espresso lends itself to becoming the base for other drinks, such as lattes, cappuccino, macchiato and mochas.
While there can be significant variation, on a per-volume basis, espresso contains approximately three times the caffeine content of regular brewed coffee (1.70 g/L (50 mg per fluid ounce) of espresso versus 0.50–0.75 g/L (14–22 mg per ounce) for brewed coffee). Compared on the basis of usual serving sizes, a 30 mL (1 fluid ounce) shot of espresso has about half the caffeine of a standard 180 mL (6 fluid ounce) cup of American-style coffee, which varies from 80 to 130 mg.
Preparation of espresso requires an espresso machine. The act of producing a shot of espresso is often termed "pulling" a shot. The term originated from lever espresso machines which require pulling down a handle attached to a spring-loaded piston, forcing hot water through the coffee at high pressure. To pull a shot of espresso, a metal filter-basket is filled with ground coffee. The ground coffee is then usually tamped evenly, into a firm puck of coffee. The portafilter holds the filter-basket and is locked under the grouphead's diffusion block. When the brew process begins, pressurized hot water is forced into the grouphead and through the ground coffee in the portafilter. After the shot is completed, many baristas put spent grounds, called a puck, into a knockbox rather than a sink or trash can, for a variety of reasons.
This process produces a rich, almost syrupy beverage by extracting and emulsifying the oils in the ground coffee. Some prefer espresso shots directly into a pre-heated demitasse or shot glass, to maintain the a higher temperature of the espresso and preserve all of its crema.
Espresso can also be made with a stovetop espresso machine.
Espresso roast and blends
Espresso is not a specific bean or roast level. Any bean, combination of beans from different origins (referred to as a blend), or roasting level can be used to produce authentic espresso. While some major North American chains claim dark roasts as their espresso roasts, some of the winning blends used in the World Barista Championship have been what is classified as a medium, "City,” or "Full City" roast, with little or no visible surface oil on the beans.
In the birth country of espresso, roast levels can vary quite a bit. In Southern Italy, a darker roast is often preferred, but the further north one goes in the country, the trend moves towards lighter roasts.
For taste quality, two main schools of thought are prevalent in roasting for espresso. The darker style tends to emphasize the roast level itself as a flavor producer, and many professional roasters believe it creates more sweetness and less acidity in the final espresso. Darker roasts tend to feature more body, chocolate, mild bitters and other caramelized flavors that come directly from the higher roasting temperatures and prolonged roasting times. These flavors are historically associated with espresso for many consumers.
The second school, following the lighter roast model, aims to maximize the distinctive flavor characteristics of the particular beans used. Roasters following this style will fine tune their lighter roasts to fully open up and amplify these specific flavors, resulting in espresso blends that feature a wider range of characteristics, including citrus, pectin fruit, floral, herbal and other more delicate aromatics and tastes that in the past were not usually found in a typical espresso shot. Some of these flavors are burned off by higher temperature roasting profiles.
There are still other roasters who take both of these schools and combine them, roasting some beans dark, and some beans light, to create blends that produce the best of both roasting models.
An expert operator of an espresso machine is a "barista,” the Italian word for a bartender. In Italy and other parts of Europe, the barista is considered a career position, often with skills and training passed down from generation to generation. In other parts of the world, the job of the barista has been frequently seen as an employment choice for young people, one to get them started in employment, but is not seen as a career choice.
In North America and other parts of the world, the title of barista has long been in use, especially in Italian-style cafes and coffeehouses, but the use of the term gained mainstream popularity when Starbucks started to call their counter staff by this title[dubious]. Since the late 1990s, the term barista became synonymous with the person in a cafe who specialized in preparing espresso-based beverages for customers. Along with this came the term "home barista" to distinguish the home espresso enthusiast.
There is a current movement both outside of Europe and in parts of the continent to build pride and professionalism among baristas, encouraging them to consider their work as a serious craft, worthy of the respect granted to other food preparation artisans. In some ways this trend is meant to follow the traditions in places like Italy and France where the barista is considered a respectable career decision. In other ways, this trend is part of what is seen as the "Third Wave" in coffee, where transparency in information sharing is paramount, and the open discussion of ideas, concepts, opinions, and education are shared, even amongst competing businesses in the world of coffee and espresso. The trend is part of the bigger process in specialty coffee to promote coffee as a culinary drink, not as something "regular" or average.
In the United States, the Barista Guild of America was founded to promote the professionalism of baristas. Along with the Barista Guild, the Barista Championships also promote professionalism amongst baristas. The Barista Championships start as a series of regional events in numerous countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Great Britain, Norway, and Sweden, among others. The competition culminates in the annual World Barista Championship.
Responding to high turnover among coffee shop staff and a desire to reduce training costs, most commercial manufacturers are developing or improving lines of fully automatic machines, which allow a minimally-trained employee to create an espresso drink by merely pushing a button. Starbucks has been a notable adopter of these machines.
Espresso is the main type of coffee in most of southern Europe, notably Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain. It is also popular throughout much of the rest of Europe and in Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba, and many parts of North America. In Australia and New Zealand, espresso accounts for nearly all of the commercial cafe, coffeehouse and restaurant coffee business.
In the United States, Tampa's and Miami's influx of Cuban refugees brought their love of espresso with them although espresso consumption was limited largely to the Cuban community; see cafe con leche. With the rise of coffee chains such as Starbucks, Seattle's Best Coffee, Dunn Bros Coffee, Biggby Coffee, Caribou Coffee, and others, espresso-based drinks rose in popularity in the 1990s in the United States, with the city of Seattle being generally viewed as the fount of the modern interest. In addition to the Italian style of coffee, these chains typically offer variations and innovations by adding syrups, whipped cream, flavour extracts, soy milk, and different spices to their drinks. Cities like San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Chicago have long traditions of espresso drinking, with the North Beach area in San Francisco being perhaps the most well known.
Espresso has become increasingly popular in recent years, in regions where coffee has traditionally been prepared in other ways. In northern Europe (Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark), specialty coffee chains have emerged, selling various sorts of espresso from street corners and high streets. Europeans have embraced espresso as one of their favorite drinks. Many companies now have espresso machines, to be used free of charge by their employees.
Home espresso machines have increased in popularity with the general rise of interest in espresso. Today, a wide range of home espresso equipment can be found in specialist kitchen and appliance stores, online vendors, and department stores.
Etymology and usage of the term
The origin of the term "espresso" is the subject of considerable debate. Although some Anglo-American dictionaries simply refer to "pressed-out" (rooted in the Latin origin of the word), "espresso,” much like the English word "express," conveys the sense of "just for you" and "quickly," both of which can be related to the method of espresso preparation.
In Portugal espresso is called "bica" (in Lisbon) or "cimbalino" (in Porto), or just simply "café" (in full café expresso, Portuguese meaning coffee, which invariably means an espresso in all of Portugal, unless otherwise specifically stated).
Expresso is the form used in France, Spain (expreso), Portugal, and parts of the United States and Canada. It is a valid English word, a variant of espresso.
In an Italian coffee bar, as in much of Europe, ordering "a coffee" (un caffè in Italian), means ordering an espresso. In France, the term café is normally used as well, but the French café is usually dark roasted.
The terms "espresso crema" or "espresso crema effect" are sometimes used as analogue models for material scientific issues. E.g. surfaces of ancient ceramics can erode due to post-depositional processes resulting in a measureable chemical alteration and a physical increase of porosity which leads to an obvious surface brightening of an actual dark material.
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