Coffee sparks many questions. This includes questions about how coffee is made and what to do with your leftover coffee. The questions are even more common when it comes to a specialized or harder-to-make coffee like espresso, but all the answers are pretty easy to find once you know where to look!
Espresso can be stored overnight in the refrigerator or freezer, but it probably won’t reheat exactly how you’d like it to, and it requires a steamer to get even close. However, there are many other options and uses that can still make that leftover espresso worth saving.
Read on to learn the basics of how to make espresso, as well as what espresso is. You’ll also learn how best to store leftover espresso and the best ways to use the leftovers of this aromatic drink.
What Is Espresso?
An espresso is just a specialized form of coffee! Specifically, it’s made with dark roasted beans that are ground very finely and then made into a concentrated shot using hot, pressurized steaming water that’s forced through the grounds. This is espresso at its most basic.
Traditionally, this Italian drink will be served as a double shot in a small coffee cup, and it will be served with a cup of sparkling water for cleansing the palate. However, many delicious drinks are made with an espresso base, and there are just as many ways to use espresso, whether it’s leftover or fresh.
How Do I Make Espresso?
Espresso can only be made using an espresso machine. There are substitute tools and alternate methods that come close, but the espresso machine is necessary for true espresso.
The machine is probably worth it for people who can tell the difference between espresso and espresso-like coffee drinks. For everyone else, you can probably use a cheaper alternative without noticing anything lacking.
A good cup of espresso starts with the right beans. Espresso is made using dark roasted coffee beans. These are ground finely into much smaller pieces than for standard drip coffee until they’re about the consistency of sand.
The grounds are then tamped into the portafilter, which is then attached to the espresso machine. The machine heats the water to the right temperature and forces the hot steaming water through the grounds at high speed.
The combination of a finer grind and pressurized steaming water results in a drink with a lot more coffee bean content than is found in an ounce of drip coffee. This means the drink is thicker and more intense, both of which contribute to its appeal and versatility.
What Does the Perfect Espresso Consist Of?
Once it’s made, the perfect espresso will have three layers. The heart is the darkest and looks the most like regular coffee. The body is a little lighter and often reddish. The foamy crema is the top, lightest layer, and a defining characteristic of a good shot of espresso.
Crema occurs when little carbon dioxide bubbles mix with oil, sugar, and fat. To achieve this requires the pressurization of hot steaming water and good, fresh ingredients without imperfections, so it’s important to use freshly roasted and ground coffee beans and filtered water to achieve the very best cup.
Why Is My Espresso Bitter?
Espresso, like any coffee, is generally bitter when it has been over-extracted. Different coffee bean compounds are extracted into the water to create coffee. Each of these compounds is extracted at a different rate.
The first to be extracted, at the lowest temperatures or shortest brewing times, are acidic. An under-extracted espresso will taste a bit sour.
If your espresso tastes bitter, this means that either your water is too hot or your brewing time is too long. If you’re following the machine’s recommended settings, double-check to make sure your water isn’t getting too hot.
This is the most common culprit. Try taking your water temperature down to about 203 degrees Fahrenheit or 95 degrees Celcius.
Do Fresh Coffee Beans Make a Difference To Espresso?
Fresh coffee beans make a big difference in any coffee drink. First, the beans should come from a good source. They should be freshly roasted, either by you or by the person who roasts your coffee right before sending it to you or the store. Ideally, you’ll then grind the beans using a burr grinder right before you make your espresso.
Taking these steps results in a much more flavorful drink. Whole, roasted coffee beans have a short shelf life and lose their freshness within about two weeks through a process called degradation.
Ground coffee exposed to the air loses its freshness within mere minutes’ worth of total exposure, so if you buy preground coffee or grind a lot at a time, make sure you have a good seal on your container.
How Do I Store Leftover Espresso?
Just as fresh beans make the best espresso, fresh espresso is the best option for espresso drinks. The process of reheating the espresso can make it taste overcooked or burnt.
If you want to reheat espresso, try to do it within 24 hours, and use a steamer to warm it up, the same as you might heat milk. This minimizes the chances of staleness or burnt taste. If you used good ingredients and equipment to start with, it’ll probably still be quite drinkable.
What Can I Do With Leftover Espresso?
So if espresso doesn’t reheat well or easily, what can you do with it?
You can do quite a lot! Since the main problem (as long as you use it in a timely manner) is in the reheating process, leftover espresso does great in iced coffee drinks.
Can You Store Espresso Shots In The Fridge Or Freezer?
You can either stick it in the fridge, then use it with ice or maybe with milk for an iced latte, or you can put it in the freezer in ice cube trays. Freezing cubes of espresso lets you use the coffee-based ice cubes with milk for a twist on the traditional iced latte.
You can also add leftover espresso to baked goods, especially to recipes like brownies. The coffee flavoring mixes wonderfully with dark chocolate, making it taste richer and more intense.
This combination can be quite memorable. It’s usually made with instant coffee, but if you’re going to use a brewed liquid, then espresso is the better choice for its concentration.
There are some tasty twists a barista or you at home can use when you’re making a latte with your leftover espresso. Oat milk mixes well with espresso and tastes great with a cinnamon stick.
Chocolate, espresso, and almond milk go well together, too. These are both easy ways to spice up (or cool off!) your afternoon. Starbucks has recently adopted some of these flavor combinations in its espresso drinks.
A barista cal also make several different alcoholic drinks using espresso, leftover, or otherwise. These are discussed in more detail below.
Can I Use Leftover Espresso In a Blended Drink?
You can use leftover espresso in a blended drink! It can make it even easier to create a delicious, blended drink using fewer ingredients.
Freeze your leftover espresso, then put the ice cubes into a blender along with milk or a milk alternative, as well as a little bit of vanilla extract.
You can also add a sugar or sugar alternative if you like your blended drinks sweet. Blend, then serve cold, topped with whipped cream if you wish.
What Milk Alternatives Can I Use In My Latte or Blended Drink?
If you can’t (or prefer not to) drink cow’s milk, several non-dairy alternatives are now pretty easy to find in most stores, as well as in chain coffee shops like Starbucks.
The common options include soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk. Some of these mix better with some flavors than with others. Coconut milk works well with Chai or other spiced flavors.
Almond milk works well with chocolate or mocha flavors. Oat milk is great with anything you would add to oatmeal. Soy milk, if used right, can work well in any coffee drink.
What Is an Espresso Martini?
An espresso martini is probably the most popular alcoholic espresso drink. There are many different variations on it, and it’s often served with either chocolate or cinnamon. It’s delicious, cool, refreshing, and very much an adult beverage.
How Do I Make an Espresso Martini?
A standard espresso martini is pretty simple to make. All you need is a martini glass, shaker, vodka, coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua), ice, and espresso.
Add the ingredients, and shake until the shaker is very cold, ideally frosty. Using hot espresso means the finished drink should contain foam when you pour it into the martini glass.
Optionally, you can top the espresso martini with a couple of espresso beans or with lemon zest or peel.
What Other Alcoholic Espresso Drinks Can I Make?
Espresso martinis aren’t the only alcoholic espresso drinks you can make. Another well-liked espresso drink is Irish Coffee.
This has espresso, brown sugar, Irish whiskey, and whipped cream. An alternate form of this drink uses Kahlua instead, making for a creamier drink.
You can also add a bit of alcohol to any blended or iced coffee drink, with sweeter alcohols generally mixing the easiest.
Table Of Content
- What Is Espresso?
- How Do I Make Espresso?
- Why Is My Espresso Bitter?
- What Is an Espresso Martini?
- How Do I Store Leftover Espresso?
- How Do I Make an Espresso Martini?
- What Can I Do With Leftover Espresso?
- What Does the Perfect Espresso Consist Of?
- Can I Use Leftover Espresso In a Blended Drink?
- What Other Alcoholic Espresso Drinks Can I Make?
- Do Fresh Coffee Beans Make a Difference To Espresso?
- Can You Store Espresso Shots In The Fridge Or Freezer?
- What Milk Alternatives Can I Use In My Latte or Blended Drink?