Columbus Coffee Guide: All about espresso blends

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Jason Valentine, owner of retail roaster Thunderkiss Coffee, will talk to you about coffee roasts for hours. Valentine, who roasts out of North High Brewing's production facility, crafts roasts for eateries including South of Lane, Katalina's and the Bexley Coffee Shop. The one coffee he's worked to perfect: his espresso roast. Here, he shares details about how espresso is used by coffee shops.

Many coffee roasters and shops will have a specialty blend or a specifically chosen bean for their espresso. Coffees chosen as espresso will often be low in acidity with a sweet, almost syrupy base. The key, Valentine notes, is that coffee must be versatile enough to stand on its own, while being pungent enough to stand up to milk.

Many espresso blends will use a base of Brazilian or Columbian coffees, which traditionally produce heavy roasted and chocolate flavors. Many third-wave shops use a single-origin espresso, choosing one coffee-often with a lighter profile-to feature in the espresso.

Good baristas will dial in at the start of every shift, testing the right grind, dose and timing for the espresso. Too fine of grind and it gets bitter; too coarse and it's sour. Valentine says baristas refer to the perfectly balanced espresso as the "God shot."