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How to Drink Espresso Like an Italian

how to drink espresso

A Roman institution since 1938, Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè brews 2,000 cups of espresso a day. Co-owner Roberto Ricci shows us how to fit in with the caffeinated locals.

Order: Approach the cashier and say, “Un caffè, per favore.” Or, to make it a double, “un caffè doppio.” Hand over your euros, and make sure to keep the receipt.

Stand: An espresso will cost about three times as much if you sit at a table—a dead giveaway that you’re not from around here. Find an opening at the bar and give the bartender your receipt.

Sweeten: Most bars serve it black and provide sugar. Sant’Eustachio adds a spoonful, unless you say “senza zucchero.” Just don’t ask for milk. If you want dairy, order a cappuccino or macchiato (but only in the morning).

Lift: Pick up the cup by the handle, using your fingertips instead of looping a finger through the opening (which is likely too small, anyway).

Drink: Sip slowly, but not so slowly that it gets cold (a cup should take approximately two minutes to drink). A 10- or 20-cent tip is acceptable, but not expected.

Illustration by Kyungduk Kim

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