For many, espresso is a delicious way to get their caffeine fix of the day.
If you’ve ever had espresso, you may have wondered if there’s a right way to drink espresso.
Whether you’re sitting in a cafe in Italy or enjoying an espresso at your local coffee shop, it’s important to know the ins and outs of how to order and how to drink espresso.
How to order an espresso in Italy
Italy is known for its delicious food, homegrown wine, and for being steeped in rich history.
But, when you think of Italy, one of the first things that come to mind is coffee. Italian coffee is held to a golden standard, espresso in particular because it originated in Italy.
When ordering espresso in Italy you want to make sure you do it just like a local would. If you order a caffè, you will get an espresso served black as one shot.
When ordering at the bar you can say, “un caffè per favore” which means, “an espresso, please“.
Although you could order a doppio or a double shot, most Italians will return to the barista if they need more coffee.
How to drink espresso like an Italian
When ordering espresso like an Italian, it should be ordered at the bar from the barista.
You may also get a small glass of sparkling water alongside your espresso as the water acts as a palate cleanser.
Sip your water before drinking the espresso.
Once you have your espresso, drink it quickly (but don’t rush of course!) Espresso should be drunk quickly while the crema is still on top.
The crema is the creamy top of espresso made from the coffee’s oils that covers the espresso.
The crema is a sign that the espresso is fresh, but it dissipates quickly.
Why is espresso served in a small cup?
Espresso is served in a small cup because a serving of espresso is small.
Espresso is often served in a shot or two as its concentrated coffee and is packed into a small serving.
The small cup also helps the crema stay on top of the espresso which locks in all of the aroma and flavor.
What time of day should you drink espresso?
You may be wondering what time of day is best to drink espresso.
In Italy, caffeinated beverages that have no milk are often saved for the latter half of the day, while those with milk are drunk in the morning.
Espresso is often drunk in the afternoon or evening, as it doesn’t contain any milk.
In Italy, cappuccino is drunk in the morning as it contains milk and is seen strictly as a breakfast beverage.
Espresso, on the other hand, is drunk after a meal as the caffeine helps to overcome feeling lethargic and tired after eating.
Should you add sugar to espresso?
It may be surprising to hear that adding sugar to espresso is not as uncommon as you might think.
In Italy, sugar is traditionally added to espresso to make it taste better. Although not all Italians add sugar to their espresso, many do.
In North America, it’s much less common to add sugar to espresso, but some still add sugar for that sweet flavor.
So, should you add sugar to your espresso? This mostly depends on how you like your espresso to taste.
If you like a slightly sweeter taste, you’ll enjoy espresso with sugar added to it.
Do you put milk in espresso?
Espresso is usually served as a straight shot with no additives like milk or cream.
This is because if you add milk to your espresso, it turns into an entirely different drink.
Adding milk to espresso can create an espresso macchiato, a latte, or a cappuccino.
Espresso is known for being drunk as a straight shot or double. If the taste is too bitter for you, try adding a bit of sugar to add a sweeter flavor.
For those who prefer a caffeinated beverage with milk or cream, you’ll prefer a latte or cappuccino instead.
Final thoughts on drinking espresso
Ordering and drinking espresso like an Italian may seem intimidating because of Italy’s rich coffee culture.
It may be a little different than what North Americans are used to, but it’s a fun way to learn about the Italian culture and experience a coffee drink that is typically for locals.
Now that you know how to order and drink espresso, you will look like a pro regardless of where you order your next shot of espresso.