How To Drink Espresso (7 Steps To Enjoy It Like An Italian)

Whether you’re a seasoned coffee connoisseur or a newbie to the world of caffeine, drinking espresso is an art form that takes practice, patience, and a little bit of courage.

But don’t worry – with a few tips and tricks, you’ll be drinking espresso like a pro in no time.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But isn’t espresso just a tiny cup of really strong coffee?” Well, yes and no.

While espresso is indeed a concentrated shot of coffee, there’s so much more to it than meets the eye (or should I say the taste buds). From the crema on top to the complex flavor notes, drinking espresso is a sensory experience like no other.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey of caffeine-fueled discovery and learn how to drink espresso like a boss, then this article is for you.

Italian woman drinking espresso in a cafe. She is wearing glasses, colorful scarf and a light-brown pull over

How Do You Drink Espresso Like Italian (Step-by-Step Guide)

Florence cathedral in Italy view with a cup of freshly prepared Italian espresso

Drinking espresso can be a mindfulness experience, as it involves being present in the moment and fully experiencing the taste, aroma, and sensation of the espresso.

Here are the steps I’m taking each time I have a lovely cup of espresso:

Step 1: Find a cozy spot to enjoy your espresso. Preferably somewhere quiet where you can fully appreciate the rich, robust flavors of your espresso shot.

Step 2: Time to channel your inner barista! Take away the crema, add some sugar or whatever floats your boat, and give it another swirl.

Step 3: Hold that espresso shot up to your nose and take a deep sniff like you’re investigating a fine wine. The aroma is like a little sneak peek of the flavor that’s about to hit you.

Step 4: Take a small sip of the espresso shot and let it roll over your tongue like a wave of caffeinated joy. Don’t swallow it right away – let the flavors develop and dance on your taste buds for a few seconds.

Step 5: As you savor the flavor of your espresso shot, try to identify the different notes and flavors that make it unique. You might taste hints of chocolate, caramel, nuts, or fruit. It’s like a little treasure hunt for the senses.

Step 6: Finally, swallow and notice the aftertaste. A good espresso shot should have a pleasant, lingering aftertaste that leaves you wanting more. Think of it like a little goodbye kiss from your delicious cup of coffee.

Step 7: Before diving into your espresso shot again, take a sip of sparkling water to give your taste buds a refreshing wake-up call. Trust me, they will thank you and you’ll be ready to fully appreciate the bold flavors of each sip.

Remember, drinking espresso is all about enjoying the experience. Don’t rush through your shot or chug it down quickly.

In that way, drinking espresso can be a way to slow down, cherish the moment, and appreciate the small things in life. A way to drink espresso as Italians do!

Read next: Do you want to brew Italian espresso at home? Check out these best Italian espresso machines

How To Spot Perfect Espresso?

Custom graphic showing hands holding a full espresso cup with a pattern that has different coffee related attributes on it

Let’s face it – there are only a few things worse than a bad espresso shot.

But fear not. There are certain key characteristics that make up the perfect espresso shot, and they’re not as elusive as you might think.

First things first, let’s talk about crema.

A good espresso shot should have a thick layer of crema on top, like a little hat made of coffee. The crema should be dark brown and have a smooth, creamy texture.

Read next: What is Crema on Espresso?

Next up, aroma.

A good espresso shot should have a strong and complex aroma that tantalizes your senses. It should be like a little perfume that you can taste – notes of chocolate, caramel, nuts, and fruit all working together to create the perfect coffee symphony.

And of course, we can’t forget about flavor.

A good espresso shot should have a rich, full-bodied flavor that’s balanced and not too overpowering. It should be like a little dance party in your mouth, with just the right amount of sweetness and low acidity to keep things interesting.

Last but not least, mouthfeel.

A good espresso shot should have a velvety and creamy mouthfeel that’s like a cozy blanket for your tongue and palate.

So there you have it – the key characteristics of a perfect espresso shot. Just remember, the next time you’re sipping on your favorite espresso, make sure it’s got all the right moves. After all, life’s too short for bad coffee.

How to Serve Espresso

Barista preparing a shot of espresso that will end up in a demitasse cup

Espresso is typically served in a small cup called a demitasse which is usually about 2-3 ounces in size

The demitasse cup is served on a small saucer with a spoon. The saucer can be used to catch any spills or drips, while the spoon is used to stir the espresso and add sugar.

It’s common to serve espresso with a small glass of sparkling water. The water can be used to cleanse the palate between sips of espresso and prepare the taste buds for the flavor of the coffee.

Quite often small sweet treats are served alongside espresso as well. The most common ones are:

  • Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of the chocolate can complement the bitter notes in the espresso, while the sweetness can balance out the flavor.
  • Biscotti or shortbread cookie: The dryness of the biscuit can help balance out the strong flavor of the espresso, while the crunchiness can provide a satisfying texture contrast.

When to Drink Espresso

A man in a hat and glasses enjoying his espresso shot in the afternoon

While it’s always a good time for espresso, there are certain occasions when it can be extra enjoyable.

Personally, I like to start my day with a shot of espresso. It’s like a tiny little alarm clock that gets me ready for the day ahead.

And after a heavy meal. Espresso is like a little digestive superhero, swooping in to save the day and prevent any post-meal lethargy.

But let’s not forget about the mid-afternoon slump – that time when you feel like you’re slogging through quicksand. That’s when espresso is providing a quick burst of energy to help you power through the rest of the day.

It can also be a great addition to social occasions, like dinner parties or meetings. And in some countries, it’s practically a way of life.

Now, some people say that you shouldn’t drink espresso in the evening because of its caffeine content, but hey – who am I to judge? If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and drink it all day long as they do in Portugal.

My advice? The best time to drink espresso depends on your personal preferences and needs. Experiment with different times of day and see what works best for you.

Different Forms of Espresso

You know what they say – variety is the spice of life. And when it comes to espresso, there are two spicy little variations that you’ve got to try: ristretto and lungo

What is Ristretto espresso?

If you’re feeling brave and ready to take your espresso game to the next level, definitely give ristretto a try.

Think of it as a concentrated espresso shot made with the same amount of coffee grounds but half the amount of water. This results in a smaller but more intense shot that’s bursting with flavor and aroma.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “That sounds intense, I don’t know if I can handle it.” But trust me, once you try ristretto, you may never want to go back to regular espresso again.

What is Lungo espresso?

Do you love espresso but wish it lasted just a little bit longer? Well, I have just the right thing for you – lungo!

Lungo is a type of espresso that’s made with the same amount of coffee grounds but double the amount of water. This results in a longer, milder shot that’s perfect for sipping and savoring.

Who knows, you might just fall in love with it(or at least have a delightful coffee break).

My Final thoughts

In summary, this article has covered everything you need to know about drinking espresso.

By following my step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the bold and rich flavors of espresso. So I hope this guide has provided you with valuable information and tips to enjoy your espresso to the fullest.

Avatar image of Luke
Written by


Hi! My name is Luke. I’m a huge espresso fan, a dad, and a caffeine junkie (which helps a lot in being a dad to an early bird ;) ). Welcome to my blog, I hope you will enjoy every single second of being here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *