Unless you grew up in Italy, where coffee culture is glorified, you might have wondered if there is a correct way to drink espresso. But, of course, purists will undoubtedly want to drink their espresso the way the Italians drink theirs; it’s understandable.
There is, of course, a proper way to drink espresso, and the process involves some steps to be discussed in more detail. But, first, it’s essential to understand that espresso is not just a beverage. It is also a brew method, but before delving into that, you must learn the correct pronunciation of the drink. Phonetically, it’s eh-spress-o. Not ex-press-o.
With the pronunciation out of the way, this article will hopefully answer any queries you may have regarding espresso drinking, including how to serve it, what to serve it with, and the correct way to drink it.
Why Is Espresso Popular?
Many coffee lovers consider espresso to be the “elixir of the gods. ” This may seem extreme, but when you understand the work that goes into making this drink, it begins to make sense.
Espresso brewing can extract the best and the worst of coffee’s flavor components.
It is the only coffee brewing method to extract the best of 800 aromatic compositions within roasted coffee beans, notwithstanding the natural chlorogenic acids, more commonly known as tannic acids or tannins.
If poorly brewed, these tannic acids can infiltrate the coffee brew, leaving a bitter taste more characteristic of other brewing methods.
There is a sense of pride in brewing the perfect espresso, and coffee enthusiasts understand this. Espresso is the only brewing method that grinds to beverage order and uses the finest ground particles.
A well-done espresso delivers optimal consistency to every cup and a lingering caramelized aftertaste.
Espresso is also the base of numerous coffee beverages like lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, etc. So if you like any of those drinks, you would have to have espresso, which is highly versatile.
Since Starbucks popularized espresso, people worldwide became introduced to it, and it has become fashionable to seek the perfect bean in a demitasse ever since.
As a result, espresso has moved away from its traditional European counterpart to specialty coffee. In the United States, espresso can be expensive and fanciful. However, it is just a regular grab-on-the-go drink in France, Spain, and Italy.
Can You Drink Espresso Straight Up?
You can drink espresso straight up, and it is the best way to drink espresso. However, while you can drink espresso however you please, there are pros and cons to one versus multiple sips. The one-sip method is the preferred method for the following two reasons:
- An espresso shot is only a small amount of liquid, roughly an ounce. Regardless of the cup’s material, be it ceramic or paper, one single shot cools down fast, and you should consume the drink before it loses heat.
- It is always best to drink espresso immediately after it’s made and served due to its flavor. While leaving a latte or other blended drink sit out for a while won’t affect the flavor too much, an espresso is ‘alive’ and fresh for a few short moments. Unfortunately, it also goes flat and loses its optimal flavor after a while.
If you would like an espresso to last a little longer so that you can take more time with it, consider ordering or making a double espresso.
Once you imbibe the drink, hold it in your mouth for a moment to fully enjoy the texture and flavor, then drink it down.
The aftertaste should be pleasant, so allow that to linger for a moment, too, and have a drink of sparkling water to clear your palate.
Espresso is the ideal beverage if you don’t wish to linger over a cup of coffee and you have other things to do. Conclusively, espresso is something you should drink straight up. So get that shot of caffeine, enjoy it, and get on with your day.
Do You Put Milk In Espresso Coffee?
Traditionally, espresso is served black with no milk; however, it is possible to add milk and milk foam to espresso. However, this will turn your shot into a macchiato, cappuccino, or latte. These drinks are made with a shot of espresso and milk, but the combination is called different names.
A machine brews espresso by pushing hot water, under pressure, through a bed of finely ground coffee beans. Milk is not involved in the process at any time.
Instead, the espresso shot is served in small cups with a sachet of sugar and possibly a cookie. That is what you get whether you ask for a single or double shot of espresso. The same goes with a ristretto or lungo.
As we all know, espresso originated in Italy in the early 1900s and was a way to brew and drink coffee quicker, and a decent espresso should take about 30 seconds to brew.
So after the invention of espresso, the cappuccino recipe we know today quickly followed.
It must be said that once you put milk or cream in espresso, it is no longer an espresso but rather a cappuccino or other blended drink.
Do You Stir Espresso?
You should give your espresso a good stir with a small spoon for a more balanced flavor, as the thick syrupy part of the brew tends to sink to the bottom while the lighter notes float on top.
Take a sip and let the shot cover your tongue. Pay attention to the aftertaste.
Ask yourself, “Does this taste sweet or sour?” Try to pick up on the lingering flavors in your mouth. Consider the following reasons for stirring espresso:
1. Fuller Flavor And More Balance
Once your espresso is brewed, it begins to settle and form a crema. Next, the coffee starts separating in the cup, and stirring brings all those flavors together for a full-flavored and more balanced experience.
2. Reduces The Temperature
Stirring helps to cool down your beverage, which enhances the flavor of your espresso. Espresso is brewed at 93 to 95 degrees, and stirring will cool down the temperature to allow you to pick up on the beautiful flavors in the cup.
3. Releases Delicate Aromas
Finally, our sense of smell and taste are closely connected, and aroma is an influential part of the espresso flavor. Stirring helps to release gases and delicate aromas to deliver an incredible experience before your first sip.
How Do You Make Espresso Taste Better?
You can make your espresso taste better by drinking it the right way, the Italian way. It’s all part of_ la dolce vita. _Let’s check out the steps to take to ensure you drink your espresso the right way:
1. Warm Your Espresso Cup
Typically, espresso is served in a little white ceramic cup called a demitasse (French for half cup). A demitasse is the right cup to use, and warming it before brewing your espresso makes for a better-tasting shot.
2. Sip Sparkling Water
Baristas in Italy serve espresso with a small bottle of sparkling water or a small shot glass of water. This is to cleanse your palate to taste the rich, dark liquid fully. This step is optional but highly recommended to appreciate the beans’ hidden flavors.
3. Skim The Crema And Stir
This step is essential to bring about a balance of flavors; stirring cools down your drink and enhances the flavor and aroma of your espresso.
Stirring allows the thicker parts of the shot which sink to the bottom to blend with the lighter notes which remain on the top. The crema may look fantastic, but it doesn’t taste so great, so grab a spoon and scoop it off.
4. Sip And Enjoy
Whatever you choose as an accompaniment, take a moment to appreciate the taste. Absorb the fragrance of your espressoAllow the rich, dark brew to roll over your tongue, savor the flavors of the beans and the texture of the drink.
Take in the characteristics of the bean and get a sense of its flavor. The perfect espresso should be bitter but not too bitter. It will have a depth of complex flavors with brighter notes.
Should You Add Sugar To Espresso?
Most cafes serve espresso with two sachets of sugar, but it’s up to you whether to add sugar to your espresso or not. Coffee is complex and nuanced, like a fine wine, and an excellent espresso doesn’t require sugar.
Sugar is usually added in Italian espresso tradition as sugar was once considered a luxury item. Sugar is delicious to many people, enhancing the espresso’s sweetness. It is a ritual from the bygone era that remains intact.
Espresso culture can feel intimidating at times, but hopefully, this article will inspire you to feel more confident to experience espresso and enjoy it fully.
You can, of course, drink espresso as you like, but following the steps mentioned above will prove to be a gamechanger.
First, remember to remove the crema, stir, and savor the flavor – this is the most crucial aspect of espresso drinking.