Espresso - Common Questions and Answers
Here you will find the answers to some common questions about the preparation and enjoyment of espresso.
What is a “Lungo”?
Espresso Lungo is an Italian espresso variation in which twice as much water is used than in a regular espresso. A Lungo is thus a prolonged espresso. Not all varieties of espresso are suitable for this type of drink which is why we have created the Gourmesso Lungo varieties. In most Nespresso®* machines, you can program how much water you want to use during your espresso preparation, so you decide how long you want your Lungo!
What is a “Ristretto”?
The Ristretto is the shortened version of the espresso. It is prepared with the same amount of espresso powder, but with only half as much water as a regular espresso. A Ristretto is even stronger and tastier than a typical espresso. Each Gourmesso variety is suitable for the preparation of a Ristretto, but we have one Ristretto specialty blend. It is important to note when using most Nespresso®* machines, you can program how much water you want to use in your espresso preparation. You can make Ristretto your standard setting!
Why should I preheat my coffee cup?
Though espresso cups are usually made of very thick porcelain, the coffee will still cool too quickly in a non-preheated cup. In addition, the crema stands up better in a preheated cup. To preheat your cup using your Nespresso®* machine, turn the machine on without inserting a capsule, wait until it has warmed up, and allow the hot water to run into your cup. Then wait about one minute, remove the water from the cup, and prepare your Gourmesso as usual.
How do I know a good crema?
Crema refers to the thick foam that forms on a properly prepared espresso. The so called “Island Test" is a quality test in which sugar is sprinkled on a freshly brewed espresso. In a high quality espresso, the sugar will only slowly dissolve below the crema. If the sugar immediately dissolves, then the espresso does not have enough crema or the crema has a low consistency. Try it with your Gourmesso espresso!
What are the requirements for good milk foam?
Milk foam, like many other things, is a matter of personal taste. One main principle applies here: a higher fat content provides more stability and leads to a creamier result. The fat content of the milk used should be at least 1.5%. If the milk is too hot during foaming, the proteins in the milk will clot. Therefore, the maximum temperature during foaming should not exceed 140°F. However, the milk should be cold at the start. The milk should be used as soon as possible after foaming because the liquid and foam will begin to separate after only a few seconds.
What is the role of water quality?
Water quality plays a decisive role in the preparation of a good espresso. The water should be fresh and not stale with an approximate hardness of 7-8° dH. It should have a neutral pH balance. Tap water is best for the preparation of espresso. Please, do not use boiled water, since this does not have enough oxygen to allow the acids, and thus the flavor of the coffee to properly develop. Another important factor is the calcium level in the water. Therefore, we recommend that you descale your espresso machine on a regular basis.
How much water is needed for an Espresso and a Lungo?
For an espresso, it is best to use 25mL for every 6-7g of coffee. As a Lungo is an extended espresso, it should be prepared with the same amount of coffee and 50mL of water. A Ristretto, however, needs the least water, 0.15mL.