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How Espresso Works


Ways to Enjoy Espresso
Cappuccino (left) and Espresso (right)
Cappuccino (left) and Espresso (right)

If straight-up espresso doesn't appeal to you, there are several other espresso drinks to try. Most establishments like to have a signature drink that only they produce, but there are some basic recipes that remain the same wherever you go:

  • Espresso: A strong, one and a half ounce shot of coffee served in a demitasse cup. After an initial sip of water to cleanse the palate, this is traditionally enjoyed with a light sprinkling of sugar on top, not breaking the crema surface, or served with a slice of lemon peel after a meal.
  • Ristretto: 1oz prepared, vs. 1.5oz for espresso.
  • Cappuccino: One third espresso, one third milk, one third milk foam, traditionally with a generous sprinkling of cocoa powder on top.
  • Latte: One-third espresso, two-thirds milk. For many Italians, this is a morning only event. According to Italian tradition -- no milk in your coffee past the noon hour.
  • Americano: Tastes like a cup of really strong coffee. An espresso shot with enough hot water to fill the cup.
  • Macchiato: Espresso shot with a small dollop of frothed milk.
  • Mocha: Latte with a spoonful of chocolate and whipped cream on top.
  • Fantasia: Mocha with swirl of flavored syrup.