The preparation of espresso has always been the best way to extract flavours and aromas from the coffee bean and ennoble it. This is why authentic espresso is recognized as the Italian coffee par excellence. Those who know how to evaluate the characteristics of the best coffee like the professional barista are able to offer the end customer a cup of great quality, a quality that comes from years of experience and tasting.

Perfect coffee – The importance of sensory analysis

Sensory analysis is a true scientific discipline and indicates the set of techniques and methods suitable for describing the external stimuli that reach the brain with a given sensory system. In this way, analysis also applies to coffee tasting, in which description and measurement count and three parameters must be met: reliability, trustworthy and comprehensiveness.

The world of professional tasting is part of the barista’s life and allows for the identification of merits and flaws in the cup of espresso at the organoleptic level, studying composition and degree of roasting. Think, for example, of barista competitions to brew the perfect espresso and coffee.

A coffee is born from the alchemy between four basic elements: water, temperature, machine pressure, and coffee. Aiming for quality means creating a beverage with a golden, amber or hazelnut-coloured crema, depending on the blend used. A beverage characterized by a full body, the perfect balance between acidity and bitterness. Coffee is the only beverage in the world that offers olfactory and gustatory sensations not only at the moment of consumption, but at that linger afterwards.

As the name implies, “espresso” means “freshly brewed,” and the speed of brewing is a key characteristic of Italian-style coffee along with the compact crema, full body, and intense aroma that result from the espresso machine’s pressurized extraction system.

5 M’s for a perfect cup according to baristas

Making a perfect cup of espresso is a true art that only a few baristas know and possess. This is why Portioli recommends following the rule of the 5 M’s namely:

Blend: starting with a quality blend is the best way to make good coffee, and depending on the customer’s taste, blends vary. A blend with a higher % Arabica quality will have a floral and complex flavour, with a medium body and for that reason will require more attention from the barista, precisely because it is more delicate. Blends, on the other hand, with a higher % of Robusta quality will have intense, full-bodied flavours and be characterized by thick crema.

Grinding: grinding is a fundamental step in the preparation of Italian espresso, and a properly maintained grinder should always be used. The reason is simple: coffee is a hygroscopic product that absorbs and releases moisture, so the barista must adjust the size of the grind according to the result obtained in the cup

Machine: the coffee machine plays an essential role in making the perfect espresso coffee, and in addition to choosing and buying the right model, it is important to pay attention to water quality and hardness, brew and pressure that affect the extraction of espresso

Barista’s hand: experience and dedication of the barista are basic ingredients for perfect espresso. The best barista is responsible for grinding, dosing, pressing, and cleaning the espresso machine in addition to much more

Maintenance: this is an important element that affects not only the espresso machine, but also all the equipment used for brewing coffee. Maintenance and cleaning procedures should be followed every day, keeping in mind that in making the perfect coffee one variable is water hardness.

Perfect Espresso: the Portioli blends proposal

For over 60 years, Portioli has been offering baristas the best coffee blends, in the following formats:

Bags: Portioli selects the finest beans and expertly combines them to offer its baristas the best blends in beans

Cans: a special espresso blend composed of the best qualities of ground coffee and packaged in a protective atmosphere

Single-doses: Portioli blends enclosed in practical single-serve formats, to keep all the aroma and taste of coffee intact

All that remains is to choose the most suitable solution for your bar and bring to the counter the perfect coffee, the one that conquers and amazes customers bringing them back to the bar.