Espresso might be the most famous coffee in the world. With the rise of the “Third Wave Coffee”, espresso coffee has become the latest trend. Although we hear it all the time, most of us don’t know much about it and the people who know some stuff about espresso, probably have many questions in order to fully understand what it is.

Don’t worry! In this article, we are going to answer your questions such as what it is, what it tastes like, what types it has and its health benefits.

What is Espresso

what is espresso
“espresso” by Brian Legate is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Okay, since even the experts can’t define clearly what espresso is, first we are going to talk about what it isn’t.

Is Espresso a Roasting Style?

No, it is not. As a result of most bags labeled as espresso beans having dark-roasted beans in them, people think that it is “espresso roast”, but it isn’t. You can use differently roasted beans too, however, many roasters roast their espresso blends darker because when they are brewed, they have more consistency than lighter roasted beans.

Is Espresso a type of coffee bean?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions and we can easily say it is false. Espresso is not a type of coffee bean. You can use any coffee bean to make espresso.

The question is: If espresso isn’t a roasting style or a type of coffee bean, then what is it?

An espresso, which originated in Italy, is a concentrated and strong form of coffee prepared by forcing high pressure water through coffee grounds and served in shots. It is mostly prepared by espresso machines. As a result of its preparation process, an espresso has crema on top of it and is much stronger than regular coffee. This crema supports coffee’s persistent aftertaste and rich flavor. An espresso’s crema is literally the cherry on the cake, crema makes the espresso perfect. It can also be used in many drinks such as Americano and Cappuccino etc.

How many ounces is a shot of espresso

Generally, a shot of espresso is one fluid ounce and a double shot is two fluid ounce but it can vary from coffee shop to coffee shop. ( a fluid ounce = 30 Ml )

How Much Caffeine is in an Espresso shot?

Although espresso is popular with its strong caffeine content, it actually depends on how many shots you drink. Espresso contains 31 to 99 milligrams of caffeine in a single shot, therefore espresso’s caffeine content is less than regular coffee which has 95 mg of caffeine generally. However, as always you should be careful about how much you consume as caffeine is known to have some adverse effects such as increasing anxiety and causing insomnia.

espresso shot
“Espresso” by Supersalomé is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Most commonly, an espresso shot contains roughly 60 mg of caffeine, so if you drink responsibly it has more good than harm but you should be aware and be careful about how your body reacts to caffeine.

Health Benefits of Espresso

  • Brain Health: According to a study, drinking espresso can help reduce your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, some studies have shown that consuming caffeine has positive effects on our cognitive functioning. Also drinking espresso may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. (1)
  • Losing Weight: Did you know that espresso has significantly less calories than other types of coffee? In a default espresso, there are only three calories per ounce, so you can drink it without worrying about gaining weight. Wonderful, isn’t it? In addition to this, it also helps you to perform better in your exercises. A study conducted by University of Luton and published in the Medicine and Science in Sports Journal shows that consuming caffeine makes workouts less difficult by decreasing the perceived level of exertion by over %5. (2)
  • Enhancing Long-Term Memory: Who would’ve guessed that by drinking your delicious espresso, you can improve your long-term memory? It’s literally a win-win situation but remember, you must drink the right and recommended amount of coffee. Otherwise, it could be dangerous. Michael Yassa, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, conducted a research and the results were shocking. According to this research, drinking two espresso shots or other coffee types which are equivalent of espresso, improved the process of memory consolidation, thus enhancing long-term memory. Remember, it is only applicable to two espresso shots since the study focused on this subject and didn’t find anything for more or less than two shots. So, if you want to see improvements by yourself, you must drink a recommended amount of coffee. (3)

What does Espresso taste like?

Espresso coffee’s flavor varies according to the process, origin and extraction method. It is natural if you think espresso the only thing that comes to your mind is its bitterness. Yes, it is true that a large proportion of espresso out there is really bitter. It is because coffee shops and brewers mostly use over-roasted or burned beans when making an espresso. However, in the hands of a skilled brewer, espresso will definitely impress you with its intense and rich flavors.

what does espresso taste like
“Espresso :-)” by eiljot is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

First thing you will notice when you taste good espresso will be its intensity. In a small 1 ounce shot, you will taste flavors you’ve never tasted before and that will leave you speechless. At first, you will not even be able to identify the flavors because your taste buds will be shocked and unable to distinguish its flavors. Only with practice, you will get better recognizing its rich and intense flavors and only then you’ll understand how great an espresso is.

A good espresso has an intense but balanced acidity and clear, rich flavors. You will notice a tiny bitterness which creates low notes. It can also have a sweetness that will fascinate you.

Fun Fact: Have you ever heard of ristretto? If not, let me explain that. Ristretto is basically a short shot of espresso with sweeter and less bitter taste served in espresso shot glasses. It is basically the same with espresso, but Ristretto has more quality and less quantity compared to it. If you’ve tried and didn’t like espresso, Ristretto might be the one for you.

Types of Espresso Shots

You don’t have to feel limited to only drink regular shots. There are some varieties of espresso shots, by learning them you can enhance your drinking experience.

Espresso Doppio

A.K.A Double Espresso, it is simply a double shot which contains two ounces of (60 ml) espresso.


As we mentioned earlier, it is a more concentrated version of espresso and it contains under one ounce of espresso.

“Ristretto” by Tanozzo is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Espresso Lungo

It is almost the same as the doppio. It has the same amount of ounces (60 ml/ 2 ounces) with doppio, but it is more concentrated.

espresso lungo
“Caffe Lungo (Long black) – Il Barocco, Palazzo Versace” by avlxyz is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Café Noisette

It is a mixture of two ounces of espresso and a single ounce of steamed milk.

cafe noisette
“Café noisette” by cyclonebill is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit


Yes, you’ve read it right. The famous macchiato is also a type of espresso shot. As you probably know, it is a blend of two ounces of espresso shot and foamed milk.

“Kaffeepause: Latte Macchiato mit Schokolade” by wuestenigel is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Did you know a major proportion of coffee drinks are made from espresso? You can check out our article about types of espresso drinks here!


Espresso is a whole other dimension that is barely explored and by reading this article, you’ve just made your first step into this interesting world! It is a marvelous but complicated coffee and even the science itself couldn’t exactly figure it out. If you can find espresso bars near you, you are lucky and you should try them ASAP. If you can’t find it, however, maybe it’s time to explore more and brew yourself. I wish you luck with this beautiful journey!


What is An Espresso: Explained

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