How to Drink Espresso (The Right Way)

A Beginner's Guide

Coffee shop connoisseurs are always looking for quality espresso with flavors to tantalize their taste buds.

However, most people don't realize how much work goes into turning a cup of coffee into an espresso experience.

Let's go over how to drink espresso like a pro.

We'll look at how the process of making espresso affects its taste and quality and how you can get the most taste and flavor out of it.

How to Drink Espresso Properly in 5 Simple Steps

Quality espresso should have rich flavors that grow in your mouth from the moment you take your first sip. This explosion of taste, however, is the end stage in this deceptively-easy process.

Let's look at the best way to drink espresso shots. We'll also discuss how you can look like a coffee aficionado from the moment you first order a cup of coffee.

1.) Order

Brewed coffee may be a simple thing for most people, as we can't let the morning pass without a cup, but a coffee lover keen on espresso drinking needs to put a bit more thought into it.

When ordering an espresso from a coffee shop or restaurant, you'd want to enjoy it in-house, with near-boiling water accentuating the perfect brewing method.

Straight espresso is best enjoyed as a single or double shot, as this will allow you to avoid dilution with hot water. A double shot is ideal if you want the full taste.

NOTE: The ideal Italian espresso is served in a white ceramic cup, preferably a Demitasse, that is heated before the liquid is poured in.

2.) Drink Sparkling Water

An art masterpiece is painted on a clean, white canvas. The same can be said for espresso, which requires you to cleanse your palate to best enjoy all the flavors to come.

For this, you will traditionally be given a bottle of effervescent sparkling water, which washes off any unwanted flavors while preparing your taste mouth to receive an explosion of flavor.

This allows you to prepare your canvas to accept the colors that an espresso cup brings to the table.

3.) Working With the Crema

An excellent espresso shot always has crema or a layer of milky foam on top. It's a sign of coffee bean consistency and aroma and should come in a thick, dark red color.

Once the crema layer of your espresso has received your seal of approval, it's time to get rid of it. The crema holds the espresso's scent, smell, and color, but it's not the most pleasant thing in the world.

In fact, it's quite bitter and unappealing.

Keeping your crema as part of drinking espresso the "Italian" way may be tempting, but most people are better off scraping it, letting brighter notes float to the top.

4.) Stir

Espresso cup in hand, it's time to give your coffee a quick stir with a little spoon. It's important to stir your drink with a spoon to allow flavors to spread out evenly.

Once you're sure that the espresso served is hot, fresh, and free of the bitter crema layer, you can add sugar before enjoying your delectable drink.

5.) Enjoy Your Espresso

A cup of espresso coffee should be freshly made, brought to your table with a foamy layer to lock in the flavor, and should have you hooked in just a few sips.

Each cup should contain a rich flavor with different notes, hints, and tastes hitting you with each sip. The mouthfeel should be consistent throughout your session.

While espresso is known as one of the quick-consumption beverages, you should still leave the shop knowing that you enjoyed one of the finer things in life.
Coffee Brewing Temperature 3

Additional Tips for Drinking Espresso

Using Your Own Espresso Machine - Ordering espressos from restaurants can get pricey over time. Modern machines can help you enjoy authentic espresso without a barista or needing to fly to Naples.


Respecting Its Strength - Casual coffee drinkers can find espresso a bit intimidating because of its strong taste. However, the perfect shot will find you as long as you're open to exploring and willing to enjoy the ride.


When to Drink Espresso - In Italy, espresso is reserved for the afternoons. It's not a morning pick-me-up or enjoyed between meals. If you're planning on copying the natives, it's best enjoyed between 4-6 pm.


Where to Drink Espresso - Coffee shops in Italy aren't the only places to enjoy one espresso after another. Practically any shop with a qualified barista can give you an excellent espresso, but it's best to go where the originals are found.


The Various Espresso-Based Drinks - Espresso is a base coffee that can turn into several other beverages when combined with other ingredients. Let's visit a few of them below:

  • Caffe Corretto: Espresso with alcoholic liquor
  • Macchiato: Espresso with steamed milk
  • Cappuccino: Like a macchiato but with equal parts foam, steamed milk, and espresso
  • Americano: Espresso diluted in hot water, most like traditional coffee
  • Caffe Lungo: Variant with a larger amount
  • Affogato: Sort-of coffee float with vanilla ice cream

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions people have when taking a sip out of a shot of espresso.

Let's go through them to make you more knowledgeable before your next visit to a coffee shop:

Do You Drink Espresso Straight?

Straight espresso is a shot of espresso with no fuss or frills added to it. There's no sugar to make the coffee sweet or milk to make it another kind of coffee.

While it is possible and often drunk straight, it would be best to enjoy espresso slowly, one shot at a time to not overdose on caffeine.

Do You Drink Espresso With Milk?

You can add milk to your drink with no problem, as people drink coffee with steamed milk all the time. However, your coffee drink will no longer be considered espresso but a macchiato instead.

How Many Shots of Espresso Is Normal?

A single shot of espresso per drink is about right for the average person. You will want 2 shots per drink for maximum taste, but it is best not to go past 4-6 shots daily for health reasons.

Final Words

Good espresso outclasses regular coffee in every way possible.

It's enjoyable, flavorful, and doesn't take up too much of your time.

From the moment you mix its coffee beans with hot water to the moment the crema-filled cup arrives on your table, you're sure to enjoy a flavor-filled ride that most drinks can only dream of coming close to!

This is a guest post written by Michael Balmer from MyCoffeeBase.com.

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