How to Drink Espresso

how to drink an espresso

What is espresso?

Historically speaking, espresso is both a brewing method and full-flavored coffee of Italian origin. It is brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water underwater through finely grained ground coffee beans.

Compared to other coffee brewed by other methods, expresso is a bit thicker, has crema on top (crema adds to the rich flavor and alluring aroma of espresso), and has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids. 

The presence of crema is an indicator the espresso has been made perfectly by a skilled barista. Often, espresso is served in shots, with each shot measuring 1 ounce. Double espressos are two shots (also called ‘Doppios‘) and are more popular than single espressos.

Whether you opt for a single or double shot, espressos are usually poured into demitasse cups. These are small coffee cups, and you have probably seen them in coffee shops and restaurants. Often most coffee house offers double shots.

Want to learn more about the history of coffee?

The right way to drink espresso

drinking an espresso

Unlike most drinks like tequila, which you can drink in a single gulp, espresso is different. You are not supposed to gulp your shot at once. So, what is the right way to drink espresso? The recommended way is taking it slowly so you can enjoy it’s full, rich flavor. But again, not too slowly. Try to enjoy your espresso while the crema is still on top, as Business Insider’s Sophie-Clair Hoeller says. You can also add sugar if you like enjoying your coffee sweet.

How to drink espresso

  • Order espresso. Visit one of the top coffee shops near you and place your order.
  • Drink sparkling water. Why water? You need to sip sparkling water to cleanse your pallet. Oftentimes the barista will serve you a glass of sparkling water.
  • Skim the crema. You don’t have to skim; it is optional. Remember the presence of crema is an indicator the espresso is well prepared. The fact that the crema does not actually taste very good is a reason enough why some espresso devotees recommend skimming it off with your spoon.
  • Stir your espresso. Keep in mind espresso is not homogeneous. For that reason, you need to stir with a little spoon to have a balanced experience.
  • Sip and enjoy. Finally, it is now time to enjoy your espresso. And as we said earlier, sip it slowly so that you can enjoy its rich flavor. You can also order some few accompaniments.

A mixed coffee drink containing delicious expresso

Common espresso drinks

 The full flavor of espresso makes it the ideal base for mixing coffee drinks. If you visit popular coffee shops, you will probably notice there are a variety of drinks to choose from which all begin with a shot or two of espresso. Below is a list of common espresso drinks.

Types of espresso shots

  • Doppio: this is a double shot containing 60 mL or 2 ounces of espresso.
  • Ristretto: this is a triple but in reality, it isn’t. It’s made from concentrated espresso weighing just below an ounce.
  • Lungo: similar to doppio, it contains 2 ounces of espresso but is more concentrated.
  • Macchiato: This classic version is 2 ounces of espresso with a dash of foamed milk.
  • Café Noisette: This double shot is a combination of 2 ounces of espresso and 1 ounce of steamed milk.

Espresso-based drinks

READ Related Article:  Does Espresso Have More Caffeine than Coffee

Apart from shots, you can also get a variety of familiar and creative beverages using the espresso machine.

  • Cappuccino: this drink has 2 ounces of espresso topped with 2 ounces of steamed milk and finished with 2 ounces of foamed milk.
  • Dry cappuccino: the only difference will be the steamed milk being provided to you at the end. Otherwise, the contents are the same as the cappuccino.
  • Americano: Espresso with water, 1/2 and 1/2 or 1/3 espresso (1-2 shots) and 2/3 water. 
  • Drip coffee: mixes 2 ounces of espresso with 3 ounces of hot water.
  • Affogato: Ice cream anyone? This is made with 2 ounces of espresso and 3 ounces of vanilla ice cream.
  • Breve: a combination of two shots of espresso and three shots of the half and half gives you the rich and creamy blend of breve.
  • Red Eye: The ultimate caffeine jolt, this drink is a shot of espresso on top of a cup of regular coffee.
  • Caffé Latte: A tall steamed milk drink with a double shot of espresso. Lattes are often flavored with syrups.
  • Mocha: if you crave for chocolate this beverage is perfect for you with its combination of 60 mL of espresso, 50 mL of chocolate and 30 mL of steamed milk.
  • Café con Hielo: this is an iced version of espresso coffee, Hielo (pronounce like yellow) is spanish for ice. It’s just 50 mL of espresso served over ice.
  • Con Panna: this is another version for dessert lovers as it is made with 2 ounces of espresso topped with 3 ounces of whipped cream.
  • Flat white: if you are not a fan of strong coffee flavor you will find this combination of 2 ounces of espresso and 10 ounces of steamed milk suitable for you.

Becoming an espresso connoisseur

If you are interested in the culture and flavors of espresso finding a substitute for a barista who is an expert of what they are doing will be difficult. Brewing and espresso is an art and science, despite having machines that can accurately apply pressure, heat the perfect water and pour the perfect shot of espresso.

You can also achieve a great espresso at home but it’s always better to know what you’re aiming for. Therefore it is suggested that you visit your local coffee shop or a skilled barista to understand the difference made by an experienced espresso brewer. Of course, you can browse around our site and learn more about coffee.


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Self-proclaimed coffee drinker. I would, on a typical day, start my day by grinding my coffee with a manual grinder and use a French Press as a starter (2 cups), then a pour-over in the afternoon (4 cups). I had my fair share as a barista but I prefer to drink it, not serve it.