What Is Espresso? Read This Before Making Any Shot

For decades, the world has been in love with how espresso tastes on their tongues. Its bitter yet lingering aroma has made this beverage one of the most popular drinks to date. However, that does not mean everyone is familiar with how it works; What is Espresso? For newcomers, the question might still be a challenging issue!

My analysis will lend you some support in this regard, providing everything there is to know about this wonderful beverage. Keep scrolling for more guidance and tips!

What Is Espresso Meaning?

What Is Espresso

Espresso : To Espressos is a concentrated and full-flavored version of typical coffee, often served in individual “shots”. Professionals make espressos by pushing hot pressurized water through grounded coffee roasted beans with espresso roast machines

What comes out is a strong liquid topped with a layer of crema – a brownish microfoam that pops up whenever air bubbles merge with fine-ground soluble oils, sitting at the top of the pulled espresso shot. This crema enhances the drinks’ fresh coffee flavor and even the lingering aftertaste! 

For many years, espressos have successfully earned the hearts of citizens worldwide – particularly its Italy home country, where people love to enjoy it freshly-produced from the coffee machine. You can drink it anytime during the day, but it seems people like it best after meals or in the mornings!

The cups tailored for espressos differ across cultures; however, “demitasse” cups are still the most popular, specifically designed for espressos lovers. 

In another vein, one-ounce shots have always been a crowd’s favorite, suited for quick pick-me-ups and busy people. Of course, two-ounce shots are also another alternative (in fact, several coffee shops only sell double shots to sustain consistent and strong coffee quality). 

Espresso versus Coffee Drinks: How Do They Differ?

What Is Espresso

1. Coffee-Brewing Method

To make good coffee, you must ground the entire coffee bean – which is easy with most home coffee makers. Under dripping systems, these beans will get grounded to medium coarseness – before heated water drips onto them and undergoes extraction via a high-quality filter. After usage, these coffee grounds can be discarded. 

In other cases, people can also place or boil coffee in percolators for brewing. Certain methods (flat white, for instance) do not necessarily require filters; instead, it lets the coffee keep its natural body and oils.

The Espresso-making method slightly differs from the procedure above. You must squeeze extremely hot water through compacted and finely-ground coffee for about 30 seconds, which means its density is greater than typical coffee

Furthermore, some froths will form on its top due to emulsified oils (called crema, as previously mentioned). The crema often enjoys a dark brown color, with gas bubbles released throughout the brewing. 

For more breakdowns of how is espresso made, click here. 

2. Serving Size

Most average coffee is served in 8-ounce cups, while espresso’s normal serving sizes only reach one ounce. 

Again, as mentioned, sellers and waiters will add espressos in small shots to the hot coffee. Applying three to five shots has always been the norm, meaning the espressos serve as the foreground for other drinks like mocha coffee, Americanos, cappuccinos, and lattes. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean it should always stay in the background; you can totally enjoy a cup of only espresso without any milk or coffee mixture!

Some renowned brands might deviate a little from the norm by providing many different sizes for you to choose from. 

One example is the popular Starbucks, which offers five drip coffee sizes and two for espressos. To be more specific, you can purchase Starbucks coffee in 8 oz (Short), 12 oz (Tall), 16 oz (Grande), 20 oz (Venti), and 31 oz (Trenta). Meanwhile, Espressos come in Double (2 oz) and Single (1 oz). 

Several European countries diversified the sizes further by adding two more sizes for espressos: 3/4 oz and 1.5 oz.

3. Caffeine Content

Of course, the exact number depends on the type of coffee brewing process and espresso beans. However, a cup of drip coffee often contains 81 to 185 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces

On the other hand, two ounces of espressos include 60 to 100 mg caffeine. If you and I break down these estimates, it’s safe to say that espressos have more caffeine per ounce (30 to 50mg), surpassing coffee (only 8 to 15 mg). 

You can always refer to this article: How Much Caffeine in a Single Shot of Espressos for more info about these aspects.

Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that espresso’s serving sizes are considerably smaller (never exceeding 2 ounces). Hence, from the serving viewpoint, black coffee still delivers greater caffeine degrees per serving than espresso drinks.

4. Flavor

Different beans are blended to make good and authentic espresso, providing heavy bodies, subdued acidity, and a nice balance to bitter and bold taste

Drip coffee, meanwhile, seems to suffer from a lack of oil and flavor range compared to espressos – since its filters have cut off lots of natural oils. Worse, long brewing times will cause tannic and phytic acids to mask the coffee’s desirable smell

How Should We Drink Espressos?

What Is Espresso

You and I all know that one espresso serving is “a shot”. But that never means you should drink everything in only one gulp! Rather, these beverages are meant for slow sipping, which allows you to enjoy their rich and full flavors. 

People often like consuming plain espressos in double or one shot, but adding some sweeteners or sugar to the cup of coffee is fine! I also suggest you have a dish of sweet biscuits (such as biscotti) nearby to enhance the experience. 

And, of course, I did mention that you may use espressos to boost the flavors of other coffeehouse drinks:

  • Caffe Americanos: A popular espresso coffee shot mixed with high-temperature water.
  • Red-Eye: One espresso shot combined with filtered exquisite coffee. 
  • Caffè Lattes: Double espresso shots with steamy milk at the top.
  • Cappuccino: Single espresso shots with frothed and steamed milk. 

How Should We Order Espressos?

What Is Espresso

Do you want to step inside a coffeehouse and make your orders confidently like a coffee expert? Then, aside from all the terms I already mentioned, here are some other phrases to remember: 

  • Shot: What is espresso shot? It is one serving (one ounce) with normal strength.
  • Doppio: Meaning “double” in Italia, used when you want double shots. Many coffeehouses consider Doppio as their standard size.
  • Lungo (“Long”): A long espresso pull with the regular coffee amount but double the water level compared to normal shots. Since there’s more water involved, its flavor is lighter than normal – but more bitter due to longer extraction processes. 
  • Ristretto: A smaller espresso serving with more intense tastes and much less bitterness. You can order it at 0.75 or 1.5 ounces.


1. Is Espresso Coffee Healthier than Normal Coffee?

Yes – according to most experts. There is much less caffeine concentration in each serving, for once. Espressos also have more antioxidants that can give your body an incredible energy boost and a better attention span!

2. Can We Drink Espressos Everyday?

Though the answer depends on your body conditions, it would be best to keep things low (no more than three cups a day). Otherwise, you may experience unwanted side effects like insomnia, anxiety issues, and so on!


Our post has successfully addressed your question, “What is Espresso?” Hopefully, now you can order your shot of espresso using the right terms and even make one at home with an espresso machine.

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