Thursday, December 7, 2023

Europe’s Espresso Culture Uncovered

by Mads

What is the Espresso Culture in Europe?

Europe is known for its love of coffee, and espresso is the king of that love. European espresso culture is a prominent fixture in the continent’s coffee industry, with each European country having its own unique way of enjoying this rich coffee.

Espresso is a type of coffee that originated in Italy in the 19th century and is made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans. It is known for its strong, concentrated flavor and is often served in small shots.

Aside from Italy, countries like France, Spain, Portugal, and Greece are known for their love of espresso. Each country has its own interpretation of the drink, ranging from a small, strong shot to a latte-style, milk-based beverage.

How do Europeans drink espresso?

In Italy, espresso is enjoyed as a quick shot of coffee at the bar, standing up. The Italians believe that espresso should be consumed quickly to fully experience its bold flavor. Ordering a cappuccino after breakfast time is considered taboo, while many Italians would rather order a caffe macchiato or a latte macchiato for their milk-based espresso needs.

On the other hand, in France, espresso is consumed during the midday meal. It is considered impolite to order a coffee outside of meal times, and the French believe that pairing a coffee with food helps digestion. Espresso in France is usually served with a glass of water to cleanse the palate and aid in digestion.

Spain also has its own unique espresso culture. In the country, espresso is known as “cafe solo” and is usually consumed as a mid-morning break or after a meal. Sugar is often added to the coffee before drinking, while milk is only added in the form of frothed milk in a cortado or con leche.

In Portugal, espresso is called “bica” and is often consumed in small, traditional cafes. It is often enjoyed with a pastry, and it is customary to knock back the shot in one gulp.

Greece is another country with its own espresso culture. Greek coffee is similar to espresso, but it is brewed on the stovetop and served in tiny cups. It is often accompanied by a glass of water and a fresh pastry for a delightful breakfast or midday break.

Why is Espresso Culture so Popular in Europe?

Espresso culture is so popular in Europe due to its rich history and cultural significance. The drink has been a part of European culture for over a century, and it has become intertwined with daily life.

Many European countries have their own unique take on the coffee, allowing for a rich and diverse espresso experience. The coffee culture has become a staple in European life, with cafes being a central part of many communities.

The popularity of espresso culture has also been fueled by the growth of the specialty coffee industry. With many cafes and roasters exploring different brewing methods and flavor profiles, espresso remains the standard for many coffee aficionados.

How to Make the Perfect Espresso

Making the perfect espresso takes skill and patience. To make a great cup of espresso, you need to start with good quality beans. It’s essential to grind the beans fresh just before brewing to ensure maximum flavor.

The ideal brewing temperature for espresso is between 190°F and 205°F. You can use either a stovetop mocha pot or an espresso machine with a quality grinder.

Once the espresso is brewed, it should be enjoyed immediately. Espresso is best served in a small, thick-walled cup. If you’d like to add milk, you can either add steamed milk for a latte or frothed milk for a cappuccino.


Espresso culture is an integral part of European coffee culture, with each country having its own unique take on the coffee. From Italy’s quick shot at the bar to Greece’s tiny cup enjoyed with a pastry, Europeans have mastered the art of enjoying rich, flavorful espresso.

If you’re looking to enjoy a great cup of espresso, starting with high-quality beans and proper brewing techniques is essential. With a bit of knowledge and practice, you too can enjoy the bold flavors of this incredible coffee.

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