ESE – The Perfetto Espresso

Oct 7, 2011



ESE The Perfect Espresso

The ingredients of a great espresso are time, pressure and water…

That is if you are a Barista… (This incidentally is simply Italian for bar tender!) … which pretty well sums up that growing group of ‘actors and actresses’ which
have made the simple and beautiful art of espresso a Hollywood esque lifestyle, with all the ‘hammy’ glitz and glamour associated….

The reality is that the art of espresso is about the roaster!

The recipe …the blend… the grind and thereafter respecting these fine ingredients…

Barista hate ‘em… but hard ESE pods are great… quite simply they work…that’s why they have lasted the test of time – but somehow languished like the family member we would all rather forget about!

The hard pod was patented in 1959 by K. Cyrus Melikian of Automatic Brewers And Coffee Devices, Inc and commercialised by Illy and introduced in 1989 as the ESE pod

The Illy ESE design was initiated as a marketing effort to sell a convenient solution for in home espresso preparation. The Easy Serving Espresso system and brand is protected by the Italian ESE Consortium for Development and is simply an industry standardization

Typically containing 7 > 8 g of espresso fine grind or for a double 14 g of espresso grind the diameter of an ESE pod is 44 > 45 mm

The pod itself is hard and rigid…not like a traditional tea bag and not to be confused with the soft pod or pad which is particularly popular on the continent and for sole use in low pressure Douwe Egbert Senseo type machines

This diameter of pod will suit almost all domestic and catering traditional machines as the basket can be changed within the group handle itself

Broadly, there are three types of filter basket which vary in depth to enable the optimum production of either a Ristretto type beverage – espresso or an
Americano style Lungo

The pod is typically produced by an EMA machine which forms the espresso pucks which are then wrapped in a non bleached standard filter paper – usually 0.2 g of each pod is filter paper

A pod will usually be packed and gas flushed or Nitrogen back flushed prior to sealing and will be good for ideally 12 months but in premium aluminium or metalized foil a best before end of anything up to 24 months can be achieved

As with all coffee product once the sachet is opened the pod should be used as quickly as possible. Oxidisation is the key enemy of fresh coffee… loose coffee
at home should ideally be used within a week of the pack being opened and ideally should be stored in a freezer to minimise and slow the oxidisation process

The pod should be offered up to the basket and placed flat and snug and the group handle locked tightly into the shower head

Espresso is produced at + 12 of bar of pressure …if the pod is not centrally placed the water will find the easy route through any gaps!

Flick the switch and start to pull your shot…

The mouse tail(s) are the stream(s) of espresso that pour from the group handle spout they may start of inconsistently ‘drippy’ but should even into a smooth stream after a few seconds

The ideal shot is deep brown

Nearer black and you the shot is pulling too slowly and may taste herbal and grassy

More tan colour / blonde and the shot is extracting too quickly and will be under developed and perhaps acidic and tart… although towards the end of a typical 25 second pull the liquor will start to appear lighter in colour…your choice and option to experiment whether you  continue to pour and enjoy this part of the extraction!

Depending upon your machine and personal preference – either wait until you have extracted the amount of liquor you require or ideally allow extraction to take place for 23 > 29 seconds – this is the ‘sweet spot’ and enables you to achieve optimal flavour from your espresso brew…

Smaller espresso at c 25 ml and you’ve made and enjoyed a Ristretto (WOW!)

45 > 60 ml (Max) and you’re on to the espresso train

Longer- well to taste!!

The only difference is the less you pour the beverage becomes bolder, fuller, with more body and less bitterness

When finished always remove the group handle and discard the used pod…don’t leave it over night in your machine… and yes – be environmentally friendly and compost the used pod!

‘Simples’…no grinding / dosing / settling / tamping  and other nonsense required with the ESE Espresso pod …simply enjoy your espresso and move onto
another if you dare!


Now milk…..That’s another question….


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