Espresso Drinking Technique

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#1: Post by roblumba »

What are some of the preferred ways to drink espresso. I know this is also an area of personal preference. But how do those judges drink espresso in such a way to judge the espresso. I imagine the method to judge the espresso is perhaps also a good way to enjoy espresso?

I noticed one of the WBC champions had recommended to stir up the espresso to mix in the sweetness from the bottom into the espresso. I tried this and it was definitely a nice experience with the espresso I was pulling (Barefoot "The Boss").

Sometimes I like to experience the range of flavors throughout the espresso. The first sips you can get full crema, or if you tip the espresso cup as you sip, you can get crema, plus the espresso liquid underneath. As you get towards the center, depending on the espresso, you can get full body and rich flavors, and then as you get to the bottom, there is that yummy sweetness and intense flavors that seem to round out the flavor on the tongue so that the aftertaste develops into something that sits on the tongue and continues to please.

And how about in the mouth? Sometimes I drink espresso like I eat my food. It just wolf it down.

And how about the ideal temperature? Sometimes the espresso is so hot in the cup, that I need to sip with lots of air in order to cool it as I sip it. Is my espresso cup too hot in this case? Perhaps I should move my espresso cups to a cooler part of the cup warming area. Or should I let the espresso cool slightly before drinking?

How about after an espresso. A swig and swish of water to wash some of the oils off the teeth? That's been my practice. I love the oils and aftertaste on the tongue, but I dread it sitting on my teeth and hastening coffee stains.

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#2: Post by cannonfodder »

There was a poll once, but I cannot find it, about how you drink your espresso. Are you a sipper that nurses the drink along, a sip and gulp or the shot glass toss it all back in one gulp. Most of the time, I am a sip and gulp drinker. I will give the cup a good sniff to draw in the aroma, a sip to coat my palate and entice my senses, then gulp, it is gone. With a new blend or machine, I will sip the cup over a couple of minutes to see how the flavors play out but once I am beyond that point and have the blend/machine/grinder dialed in, sniff, sip, gulp and off I go.
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#3: Post by HB »

cannonfodder wrote:There was a poll once, but I cannot find it, about how you drink your espresso.
Maybe you're thinking of Do you mix / stir your espresso before drinking it? or How warm do you like your espresso cups? There's also the related topics, Proper way to drink espresso? and The Ideal Palate Refresher.

As for judging, you don't have time to dawdle. Judges are required to give the barista their full attention whenever the competitor addresses them. Most will pause for 30 seconds to a minute so the judges can assess the drink. A quick sip, maybe two, then you must score it because otherwise you'll miss whatever the competitor is saying next. Occasionally the competitor will give very specific instructions on how the drink should be consumed. Again, within reason, the judges are expected to follow the competitor's instructions, though specific instructions are typically limited to the signature drinks (e.g., crush this herb into the drink, stir this into it, sip first, stir, drink, etc).

I prefer three sips to finish and warm (not hot) cups. Sometimes I'll let an espresso sit for 30 seconds to a minute, but frequently I'm preparing the next while finishing the current drink.
Dan Kehn

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#4: Post by Canuck »

After reading this thread I tried stirring a double espresso I made this weekend. I don't know if it was because I stirred, or if other factors aligned, but it was a top 5 shot for me. I will try this again and if they continue to taste as good, I will stir always!

roblumba (original poster)
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#5: Post by roblumba (original poster) »

I tried FVH Michicoy as a SO Espresso this morning and stirred. It was definitely very nice. Sometimes the sweeter flavors can be very intense at the bottom of some espressos and it was definitely a nice balance to stir it together with the rest of the espresso, sip and enjoy. I suppose if you gulp it down in 2 or 3 sips it won't make much difference, but if you like to sip, it can make a big difference. Also, you can probably consider going for more volume when stirring. For example, instead of just 1.25 ounce, try 1.75 ounce double or closer to 2 ounces and stir. See if the mixture of the sweetness on the bottom balances the flavors near the top.