My First Great Espresso Experience

If you’re an espresso fan, you’ll love this article. On the other hand, if you’re not an espresso fan, like me, then you’re going to have your eyes opened to a whole new world, as I did with my first great espresso. Either way, read this article and be enlightened and entertained.

The Charbucks Bastard

When George Schultz (CEO of Charbucks, Elitist, Globalist, Atheist, and Anti-American) brought espresso to America in the 1970’s, it didn’t take long for the liberal coffee industry to bastardize espresso into little more than a liquid candy bar.

This is precisely why I hated espresso. Little did I know that our Lake City Coffee's super smooth beans, a perfect roast, and super fresh beans could place espresso at the top of the culinary arts.

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Italian Espresso – The Real Deal

Unlike Americans, the Italian love affair with espresso is legendary. They drink it thick, dark, strong, and black from tiny little cups. As they slowly sip this delightful liqueur, they savor the experience. In that moment, life gets simple, very simple. The cares of this world melt momentarily away.

These couple of blissful minutes is where life comes to a stop and their world shrinks to just that cup of espresso, their thoughts, and their prayers to a God that cares about every detail of their life. This moment, with this ambrosia of life, is how to prepare for a day of work or day of play.

For decades, I didn’t know any of the true possibilities of espresso. If you’ve read my website, you won’t find diddly squat about espresso. Why? Because I was thinking of American espresso, not real espresso.

My First Great Espresso

Very recently, Alisha and I were at our friends Eric and Angela’s home for a party. As I walked into the kitchen, there, tucked in the corner, was a super fancy-dancy espresso machine. Oh my Lord. This was no average espresso machine. No, this looked like something designed by Erte or Steve Jobs and built by Elon Musk. And then I remembered our friends are customers of ours and they’d have our beans on hand! Eurika!

Having never in my life had a good espresso, I asked Eric to make me an espresso. I wanted the real deal, double shot, straight up and black. What I was looking for was an espresso just like the Italians drink; no milk, chocolate, froth, caramel, crema, or any other foo-foo crap. My search was for a true coffee lovers ultimate delight. Expecting the worse, expecting my tastebuds to be assaulted, I steeled myself for strong, bitter, nasty sludge, good for little more than degreasing wheel bearings.

I took my first hesitant sip and froze. What? Second sip. “Holy Cow Batman!”  Third sip, and I squealed like a little girl on her first rollercoaster ride. OK, super strong, thick, almost chewy, not at all what I expected, but also smooth as silk and I could actually taste the chocolate and cherry notes that I’m used to. This was nuts. My buddy just made me eat every bad word I’ve ever said about espresso.

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Espresso Blend BS

 Espresso is a brewing method. Period. End of story. In fact, “espresso” in Italian is literally “fast” or “quick”. Espresso, regardless of what you’ve been told, is not a blend. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying to you or a fool.

The idea of a coffee blend is to combine the best attributes of one bean, say a bean that has strong chocolate notes and blend it with a bean that has strong raspberry notes. What you’re hoping to produce is a blend of those notes into chocolate raspberry. Nice idea, but it doesn’t work. What you always end up with is a muddled mess that tastes like bad Russian borscht.

If espresso isn’t a blend, then what beans should you be using for espresso brewing? You should use a single origin coffee (all from the same field. If you like your coffee bold, thick, and strong, then pick something like an Ethiopian coffee. On the other hand, if you prefer your coffee smooth and flavorful, then go with a bean from Central America, preferably Costa Rican.

Espresso Roast BS

Just like the espresso blend nonsense, so too is the marketing term “Espresso Roast”. No such thing. Doesn’t exist. In fact, I’ll tell you that a French Roast, or Italian Roast, or European Roast are just different names for different shades of burnt.

Again, if you prefer bold, thick, and strong, go with a burnt roast as mentioned above. On the other hand, if you prefer smooth and flavorful, go with a medium roast.

Industrial Decaf Coffee
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A Real Blend

As you can tell, I’m not a fan of Wall Street marketing companies fooling the public just to sell their stuff. The only real blend worth drinking that is blending two different roasts of the same coffee bean. For instance, my frist good espresso experience detailed above was with a blend of 50% dark roast and 50% medium roast.

Another popular blend with our customers is 80% Dark or Medium Roast along with 20% White Roast. Our White Lightning is roasted to a golden color and has strong notes of peanut butter. Adding our White Lightning to our other roasts gives a very enjoyable blend of flavors.

Thrift Shop Espresso

Maybe that culinary espresso delight at Eric’s was a product of his $2,000 espresso machine. The following week, I waltzed over to my sister Susan’s house, (the queen of Thrift Shopping) to borrow her 20-year-old used espresso machine and do some experimenting.

After an afternoon of research on YouTube (Commies), I played mad-scientist with my sister’s ancient espresso machine. I started, as did my friend Eric with a blend of 50% dark roast and 50% medium roast of our Tarrazu Region Costa Rican beans.

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boy roasting coffee

Novice Barista At Work

I was going to make my first espresso, but considering this would have been my first time, I figured it wouldn’t be a fair comparison to Eric’s espresso expertise. So, I asked Alisha to make the espresso, since she’s done it a thousand times.

So comparing apples to apples, we used the same beans as Eric, the same blend of 50% dark roast and 50% medium roast, and the same fine grind as Eric. The final results were very similar to Eric’s. My misconception of good espresso was blown out of the water. Eric’s espresso was smoother and better balanced, yet Alish’s espresso was still smooth and pretty darn good. Not bad for 20 year old cheap espresso machine.

Lake City Coffee

I’ll admit, espresso can be great. Even in the hands of a newbie like me, espresso can be good. So, why the huge difference between our espresso and nearly every coffee shop in the country? Three things are different:

  1. The Beans - Their beans are cheap nasty beans, where our Lake City Coffee beans are the smoothest Costa Rican beans that money can buy.
  2. The Roast – They roast the snot out of their beans. We roast our beans low-n-slow to a medium brown or a dark brown, never black.
  3. Freshness – A vast majority of roasted coffee in America has been sitting in warehouses or on store shelves for months if not years. Ours arrives at your front door with 24-72 hours of roasting. That freshness makes all the difference in the world to the taste of your coffee.
Russell and Alisha Volz

In Conclusion

Experiment. Enjoy. And drink what you like.


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