Use espresso beans by grinding them in a burr grinder, and then placing them in either a pump-style espresso machine or a countertop pressure machine. Unlike the course grind of coffee used for most other coffee makers, espresso beans require grinding to a granular powder with the texture of superfine sugar. Each cup of espresso requires 7 to 9 grams of coffee, which is equal to approximately 1/2 a tablespoon for every 2 ounces of water.
Espresso beans are a darker roast than other coffee beans. The freshly ground beans supply the best flavor for an intense coffee, as the extended roasting time causes the oils to come to the surface. While Arabica beans provide more balanced flavor, Robusta beans produce more of the crema at the top of a cup of espresso.
The espresso brew is thick, having the consistency of a light syrup. When served as espresso, a small amount of sugar is sprinkled over the crema without breaking its surface. When the concentrate is served with steamed and frothed milk, it is a cappuccino; when only steamed milk is used, it is a latte. For an Americano, the brewer dilutes the shot of espresso with hot water to fill the cup, resulting in a cup of coffee with a strong flavor.