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The language of Espresso- Italian Espresso Terminology

by Elvira Di Gesu - Iarusso January 31, 2017

The language of Espresso- Italian Espresso Terminology

If you plan to travel to Italy,  be sure to brush up on your Italian Espresso Terminology. Also keep in mind that espresso is with an S not an X and should be pronounced accordingly.  Some general rules about having an espresso in Italy...

  1. Espresso and other coffee drinks are generally enjoyed right at the bar where they are being served,  If you want to have your espresso or drink at a table you will be charged il Coperto - a service fee.   Having an espresso at the bar is quick and very economical.
  2. Cappuccino is a drink to be had before 11 am.  Italians frown on having cappuccino with a meal or in the afternoon.
  3. When in Italy, no need to order an "espresso" simply ask for "un caffé". 


Ristretto  or Corto-
Ristretto is prepared using the same quantity of ground espresso used for the classic espresso (about 7 g). The difference is that the Ristretto uses only 25 ml of water, making the coffee much stronger and intense.

Espresso - Generally espresso is composed of 7 g of grains ground thin to obtain 30 ml of coffee. Usually served without cream and can be sweetened with a little of sugar.

Lungo - Many prefer the the Lungo as opposed to Ristretto: It contains more water than the Ristretto, for a lighter result. The quantity of water used changes based on the personal flavors.

Cappuccino - The classic cappuccino is prepared with espresso, milk and whipped milk. To enjoy the best cappuccino, the espresso, milk and whipped milk must be of equal parts.

Latte Macchiato - A tall glass replenished with two third of warm milk, the remainder is whipped milk. Also the Pannarello or vapor tube is used to steam the milk. Then an espresso is poured in the center of the crown of whipped milk. For the perfect Macchiato, it is necessary to cool the milk before adding the espresso. A clear glass must be used to see the beautiful layers created by this drink.

Caffelatte - This speciality is prepared with espresso, double espresso or weak coffee. It is added then a large warm quantity of milk and a little of milk whipped. The comparable french version, café au lait, is served in the bowl.

Corretto - an espresso that has had some liquor added to it, usually Sambuca or Grappa.

Elvira Di Gesu - Iarusso
Elvira Di Gesu - Iarusso


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