Black coffee, please! [beverage guide]

HOW TO CHOOSE IN A CAFÉ

As they say: a hundred people, a hundred tastes. Everyone likes their coffee a little differently. The problem then is the barista, who would have to be a telepath or a fortune teller to guess how you imagine "preso". To avoid a long explanation of what drink you're actually talking about, find the version of black coffee on the café's drinks menu that suits you best. We're here to help.

STARTING WITH THE SMALLEST: RISTRETTO

Most often the first coffee on the drinks menu. Theristretto has earned this position by being thesmallest coffee you can order. If we open the Italian dictionary at the same time as the drinks menu, we learn that ristretto means limited. So ristretto is a coffee with a limited amount of water. It is prepared under the same conditions as a classic espresso, except that the resulting volume is smaller. As is well known, espresso takes around 30 seconds to produce (i.e. the time it takes to pour the coffee from the machine into the cup). The production of a ristretto is reduced to 15-20 seconds. This coffee "praline" is essentially a one-drink beverage. What has won the ristretto its fans is its taste. It's a sweet and sour coffee, with no sign of bitterness.

CAFÉ SOLO: CLASSIC ESPRESSO

In some countries, just say "café" and an espresso lands in front of you. It is the flagship, the main drink in the whole café. They used to buy an expensive coffee machine for espresso. Espresso is a staple of milk coffee drinks. You can see the barista's skill in it, and it is also his "work of art".

Espresso is a black coffee of about 30 ml prepared with a lever coffee machine. Per espresso, 7-10 g of finely ground coffee extracted with hot water (around 92°) using a constant pressure of 9 bar for between 25 and 30 seconds. It is served in small thick-walled cups of 60-90 ml. The surface of the espresso is a 'crema', the density of which depends on the type of coffee used and covers the entire surface of the espresso in the cup. Espresso is a coffee with a balanced extraction, letting the full range of coffee flavours stand out, from sour notes to sweetness and a pleasantly bitter finish. That's espresso.

Acommon myth about espresso that continues to circulate among café-goers is that espresso contains more caffeine than "decaf" or other filter coffees. This is a complete fallacy. Caffeine is extracted from coffee gradually. Which means that the longer the coffee and water are in the brewing process, the more caffeine the final drink will contain. If we consider an espresso brewing time of 30 seconds and a dripper brewing time of around 2 minutes, it is immediately clear that more caffeine will be in the filtered coffee. This rumour about the caffeine strength of espresso probably comes from the statement that espresso is the most concentrated coffee. Only here they mean concentration of flavours.

DOUBLE COFFEE: DOPPIO

Doppio. That's double the pleasure, two espressos in one cup. This coffee is prepared using the same principle as a single espresso. The difference is that you use the lever of the coffee machine with a sieve to double the dose of ground coffee. 14 - 20 grams of finely ground coffee is poured into this lever, extracted and this double dose of coffee of about 60 ml is poured into the cup. Most often into cappuccino cups of around 140 ml.

EXTENDED COFFEE: LUNGO

Lungo can be found in the Italian-Czech dictionary as the Czech word long. It is a long, extended coffee. The base is the classic espresso, which is lengthened with hot water. In the traditional service of Czech cafes, you can expect to order a lungo with about a 140 ml cup containing espresso. They serve hot water with this coffee and then leave the extension to you. The rule of thumb is to extend the lungo at a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio. Adding water to the espresso will both increase the volume of the espresso and the time it takes to sip the lungo, while also mellowing and loosening the flavours of the base espresso. This allows to better perceive the subtle flavour nuances of the coffee that we would have missed or overlooked when drinking the espresso alone.

How the lungo pool became

Like this one time on holiday in Italy. Imagine. The beach, the sun, a sea of salt water and a sea of free time to relax and enjoy. Not far from the beach, but just over the road. There is a small typical Italian cafe with a big garden. Passers-by stop and order "un caffé" (espresso), which they drink in one or two sips at most. They stand at the bar and watch the waves. A summer idyll.

Now imagine if you could have it at home. Since you can't get the sea for your flat, you decide to buy thecoffee machine. with the motivation of makingcoffee at home like in Italy. Some of these people then thought that more coffee might mean more Italy! So they decided to outsmart all the reasons why espresso is espresso. They probably hadn't even heard of those reasons.

Since then, in Czech homes, pubs and restaurants, even in some untrained coffee shops, streams of coffee flow from the levers of coffee machines until the cup is full. Such a native Italian would be horrified and run back to Verona if, when he ordered "un caffé", he was given this drink. More is not always better.

BIG BLACK COFFEE: AMERICANO

Do you want an espresso-based drink but desire to enjoy it for longer? In that case, ask for an americano at the café. It is made gradually like a lungo. The difference is the amount of water. When making americano, the ratio of espresso to water is 1:5. An Americano is an espresso prepared in a larger cup and topped up with about 1.5 dl of hot water. This coffee is then delicate in taste. It is often ordered by people who find espresso too aggressive and concentrated. Simply if the espresso is too "strong" for them.

Diluted espresso for Americans

As the name of the drink suggests, we can assume the emergence of the Americano as a result of the demands of Italian café customers for a more diluted espresso. The resulting drink subsequently became popular with Americans. The americano. Avery similar drink called the Long Blackis popular in the USA . It's actually this americano. It's just prepared in the cup in reverse order. Hot water first, and espresso poured in.

Americano

Another way to extend the coffee, i.e. to prepare lungo, besides adding water, is to change the fineness of the grind. If we put a slightly coarser ground coffee in the lever of the machine, we can afford a longer time for its extraction. The result will be a higher volume coffee with a smoother flavour. However, we wouldn't be talking about espresso grounds now, and it's impossible in a coffee shop to re-set the grinder for every third order. However, this coffee is already approaching coffees that are prepared by alternative methods. For example, from such an Aeropress you can get a pretty decent 'lungo'.

THE ART OF ORDERING

Beverage menus are there to speed up the ordering process. They are an introduction to the café and a tool for seamless communication between the guest and the café staff. The most important thing for a barista or waiter is always mutual agreement and satisfaction. To make the guest happy with their coffee and for the barista to know how to prepare the coffee, let them give their guest that pleasure. Don't be shy to tell the café how you like your coffee. Describe your coffee to the barista and he will find the best solution for you. You might end up discovering that you didn't want espresso-based coffee but filtered coffee. You just need to tell yourself what you want.

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