Espresso – A Taste of Italy in Every Sip

By Michael Russell

Traditionally served in a “demitasse” – a special cup with a capacity of 3 oz. – as a shot, espresso is a special drink: a mouthful of sensations and flavor. Espresso defines the very essence of coffee.


Italians are proud of their tradition and do know what a good espresso means. When asked, they’ll even define the true test of a perfect espresso: when you ad sugar to it, the sugar should remain at the surface of the cream for thirty seconds before sinking. Are you ready to start counting? Customarily espresso is drunk in one sip. But what if you want to double the pleasure? Well, you could just order a second espresso, or order a Doppio from the start. An espresso doppio means, in Italian, a double shot.

Espresso Americano, as the name suggests, is a type of beverage consumed in the “American style”. Practically what you do is add hot water over a traditionally prepared espresso to make a full regular cup. Espresso Americano can be consumed with milk and sugar.

For a richer taste, there are other espresso recipes you might want to try. Espresso topped with a spoonful of whipped cream is also known as espresso con panna. Or maybe you’ll find tastier a macchiato: espresso topped with milk foam. An espresso Romano is a traditional espresso shot with a twist of lemon. For a hot summer day, try a Granita: freeze sweetened espresso and then crush it. This is a perfect topping for ice cream specialties as well.

You can also enjoy espresso in various cocktails. A classic espresso cocktail is the Espresso Martini. To prepare a drink for two you need 7 oz vodka, one espresso shot, ½ oz Kahlua and ice. Shake vodka and crushed ice for about 30 seconds, then add espresso and Kahlua and give it another two or three shakes. Let it stand for about a minute and then strain into two martini glasses. Garnish with coffee beans.

Another vodka-based espresso cocktail is called simple: Vodka Espresso. Shake one shot of vodka, one espresso shot, two teaspoons of castor sugar and ice cubes for thirty seconds. Strain into a glass and layer one shot of Amarula Cream on top.

Another tasty cocktail with espresso is the Mocha Martini. Let’s say you’ve forgotten to drink your espresso shot and now it’s cold. Why waste such a delicious beverage? Use it in a cocktail: shake one shot cold espresso, one shot bourbon, one shot cocoa liqueur and one shot Amarula Cream with crushed ice. Strain into a chilled glass and then float half a shot of double cream in the center. Garnish with cocoa powder.

As you see, espresso is an amazing drink that can ad flavor to many other drinks. One may be able to even define espresso as a sip of Italy: sensual, romantic, full of flavor, appetizing, mysterious and passionate. You can enjoy this beverage in its traditional form, or let your imagination discover new possibilities. Chefs even use espresso to improve the taste of certain cakes and ice cream, create syrups and much more. Why not create your own espresso-based recipe?

About the Author

Michael Russell, your Independent guide to Espresso

Written by J. Lee

A seasoned world traveller, J. Lee writes about his weekend trips away, travel for work, and his many Europe vacations.

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