• Order your espresso: “One espresso for here please.” should be sufficient. Most shops worth visiting only serve espresso in ceramic, but asking for the demitasse identifies yourself as a serious customer. You might be asked, “Single or a double?”
• Drink your water. The barista will serve you a glass of sparkling water. This is to cleanse your pallet. You’re paying a lot for that ounce of liquid, you want to taste it! Water is meant to be drunk before your coffee and drinking it after may be an insult to the barista as you are washing away the taste.
• Skim the crema (optional). A freshly pulled espresso should have some nice, rich crema floating on top- a by product of escaping co2 and nine bars of pressure. Although thick, reddish crema often designates a good shot, it doesn’t actually taste very good by itself and should be stirred all together, some espresso aficionados recommend skimming it off with your spoon.
• Give the espresso a stir. Espresso is not homogenous, the thick, syrupy part of the shot tends to sink to the bottom while the brighter notes float on top. To get a balanced tasting experience, give the espresso a good stir with the spoon.
• Take a sip. Let the coffee cover your tongue. Does it taste sweet? sour? Pay attention to the aftertaste. What lingering flavors are still in your mouth? Don’t be afraid to slurp!
Remember, espresso is like a magnifying glass, it accentuates certain characteristics of the coffee. The concentrated flavors may taste overbearing at first, but over time you’ll grow to love it.