Before we get into the differences between the two, let's get one thing out of the way: espresso is not a particular type of roast. Italian for "expressed," "espresso" refers to the way the coffee is brewed: hot water forced through very fine grounds under high pressure, creating a small, dense, strong extraction that makes the world go 'round. Well, our world, at least.
While any coffee can be used to make espresso, all roasters fine-tune certain blends for prime flavor extraction via espresso machine. We've designed our two espresso blends to have different flavor profiles and to work in different settings.
Flying Monkey is our more traditional, full-bodied espresso. Currently consisting of coffees from Brazil, Colombia, and Papua New Guinea, this blend highlights flavors of milk chocolate, graham cracker, and honey, with a pleasant touch of acidity and plenty of depth to show off in long milk drinks. If you've had a cappuccino, latte, or mocha at one of our cafes, you've tasted Flying Monkey.
Southpaw is a bright and juicy blend, currently consisting of coffees from Colombia and Ethiopia. It leans away from nutty, chocolatey flavors toward sweet and lively fruit notes. Flavors of caramel, peach, and sugar cane create a complex, sweet, and well-balanced espresso that is best enjoyed as a shot or in a short milk beverage, like a macchiato or cortado.
If you're making espresso at home, read Dialing In Our Espresso for some guidance. These blends also taste great brewed like any other coffee—pour over, AeroPress, auto-drip, or whatever suits your style.
Espresso works wonders in other settings, too: the Espresso Milkshake might be the best-kept secret on the menu at our cafes!