Right in the thick of the holiday season, falls a day which will help all fuel their way through shopping, cooking, and decorating. November 23rd is National Espresso Day! While the origin of when this holiday began is not widely known, what is known is that caffeine enthusiasts look forward to celebrating this day every year.
What anatomically makes up espresso? Contrary to popular opinion, espresso is not derived from a specific bean, or roast level. Any coffee bean can yield itself to become an espresso. According to NationalEspressoDay.com, “what makes espresso, espresso, is its brewing method, which is made by forcing pressurized hot water through finely ground coffee to create a concentrated coffee topped with a delicate foam, called a crema.” Three layers make up an espresso. First, the frothy cream, which is usually golden brown in color, and made up of concentrated oils and sugars. Next, is the body, which is usually caramelized amber in color. Finally, is the “heart,” or the bottom layer of this drink. It usually has a deep brown tone and is bitter in taste.
Espresso originally made its debut in Italy in the early 20th century. Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing plant wanted to speed up the process of making coffee. According to NationalEspressoDay.com, Bezzera discovered that “adding steam pressure to the process produced a stronger, more robust cup of coffee.” As a result, espresso was born!
The beverage is touted for its ability to wake everyone up. Especially since one ounce typically has 65 milligrams of caffeine, in contrast to the 12-16 milligrams of caffeine one ounce of plain coffee has. However, we do not typically drink one ounce of coffee. An eight-ounce coffee drink does have a high amount of caffeine as well—96-29 mg of caffeine—is not as concentrated as espresso is.
While this delicious drink is often enjoyed in coffee beverages, this is not the only way to enjoy espresso. Curious to discover diverse ways we all can celebrate espresso? Read on for three delectable recipes to enjoy this pick-me-up brew.
Espresso Delight #1: Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies: This tasty recipe, courtesy of CoffeeAffection.com, takes 21 minutes total to bake. You will need: ¾ cups unsalted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, ⅓ cup white sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt, 1¾ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 4 ounces dark chocolate chips and finally, ¼ cup espresso powder. First, brown the unsalted butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Next, combine the browned butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a large bowl and mix them together. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract to the bowl and stir. In a different bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, espresso powder, vanilla extract, and salt. Combine both bowls and add the chocolate chips. Be careful not to overmix the combination; otherwise, the cookies will come out too dense. Refrigerate the cookie dough until it is cold—it is best to let it cool overnight. Once ready, preheat the oven to 350° F. On oiled parchment paper, place dough balls along the sheet spaced at 2-inch intervals. Finally, bake for 11 minutes. Enjoy!
Espresso Treat #2: Espresso Martini: A beloved alcohol beverage by many, this drink is not difficult to make on your own. For this recipe, from Liquor.com, you will need: 2 ounces vodka, 1/2-ounce coffee liqueur (usually Kahlúa), 1 ounce espresso, freshly brewed, 1/2-ounce simple syrup, and coffee beans for garnish. First, add vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso and simple syrup to a shaker filled with ice and shake until well-chilled. Next, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Finally, garnish with three coffee beans of your choice. Cheers!
Espresso Treat #3: Celebrate the season with a Gingerbread Latte! With it being, “the most wonderful time of year,” why not choose November 23rd to enjoy a seasonal latte! For this recipe, from the blog,
“Chocolate Covered Katie,” you will need: 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp molasses, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, 3 tbsp espresso, 1 cup milk of choice, sweetener of choice, to taste. You will need to first mix everything together in a small pot or in a mug. Then, heat until desired temperature is reached. However, if you want a foamy latte: Mix spices into coffee. In a big measuring cup, heat or microwave the milk until foamy. Then pour the milk into the coffee mixture. Delicious!