How to Drink Espresso Like a True Italian

Italians are best known for pretty much inventing how the world sees espresso. Everything from the lingo to the creation of the first steam-driven espresso machine. Over the years foreigners have attempted to dress up the espresso shot by making it into a fancy milkshake.But Italians strongly believe that espresso should stay traditional. For them having an espresso is a big part of their lifestyle, especially since they will have an espresso several times throughout the day.  

An espresso is not just a concentrated coffee. Instead, the method to getting that perfect espresso uses a combination of high pressure and finely ground coffee beans.  It works to extract flavors, oils, and aromas from the espresso beans. This process will result in a drink that is a complex and great tasting drink. There are many different ways that you can choose to enjoy an espresso, but if you want to drink it like an Italian here is what you need to do.  

Two Ways to Make Espresso

There are two main ways that you can get a regular espresso. The barista can extract the espresso directly into the cup, or it can be gathered into a shot glass before pouring it into the cup. While it may not seem like a big deal, it is an important distinction to know.

When a shot is being pulled directly into the cup, the coffee will create layers within the cup. This creates notable distinctions from the top to the bottom portions of the espresso. The overall taste of the espresso will start out a little bitter before getting sweeter the closer you get to the bottom.

When an espresso shot is extracted into a shot glass and is then transferred to a cup the layers will get mixed up, or coalesce. Doing this completely changes the overall taste of the espresso. It will mix up all the flavors and make it have a more consistent taste.

What to Order?

There are three main traditional espresso drinks that Italians drink. This includes:

-un caffè: a shot of espresso

-un cappuccino: espresso with steamed milk

-un caffè latte: espresso with more steamed milk

However, there are a few acceptable variations that you can order as well. This can include:

-un doppio: a double-shot of espresso

-un caffè macchiato: a shot of espresso with a dollop of steamed milk

-un latte macchiato: a dash of steamed milk with espresso

-caffè corretto: a shot of espresso with grappa or brandy

-caffè freddo: an iced and sweetened espresso

-cappuccino freddo: a sweetened iced cappuccino

Having espresso with milk is generally frowned upon in Italy.  But if you want to have milk with your espresso, order an espresso macchiato cappuccino or any other milk based espresso drink. Just order these drinks before noon. Ordering an espresso in the afternoon is not done because some see the milk and foam as being a replacement for a meal. It has also been known to upset the digestion process.

How to Drink Espresso?

There a few important aspects to drinking an espresso shot. It should be drank quickly, but not too quickly. Espresso shots are served black without any additives. The cups that the espresso comes in have a small handle with no opening to loop your finger through. To drink the espresso, simply pick it up by the handle.

An espresso shot should never be taken like a quick shot. Doing this means that you will miss out on all the flavors of a well-made espresso. Instead, you will want to savor it. You will want to be able to savor by taking small sips. But keep in mind that the maximum amount of sips should be 4. This drinking process should take 2 minutes, and you should be done before your espresso has a chance to get cold.

Tips and Tricks

-Avoid drinking an espresso that does not have a nice top layer of crema. If your shot is missing the crema it means that it has been sitting around for too long.

-Most Italian places will serve espresso with a small glass of water. The water should be drunk between sips of espresso. This water works to clean your palate so you are able to experience the full flavor of the espresso.

-Italians regular drink a large amount of coffee throughout their day. Which means that it is okay to drink 7 or 8 espressos in one day.

-Espresso should be ordered and drank at the bar. This will be far cheaper than sitting down at a table.

-It is not uncommon to pay for your espresso before you actually order it. Once you have paid for it take the receipt with you to the bar and hand it to the server.

-Espresso shots are commonly served black, but many places will provide sugar. The sugar is usually found in jars or packets right on the counter.

-There are some places that have tubs of cremina. Cremina is a foam that has sugar whipped right into it. If you are brave and are not grossed by the communal, you can spoon some into your coffee. This will give your espresso a little bit of sweetness while adding a little bit of cream into your coffee.

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