Coffee Facts

How To Order Espresso

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You’ve had plenty of drip coffee in your life and you want to switch your everyday coffee for espresso? Know what you’re getting into before you order, so you’ll sound like an espresso enthusiast while you’re doing it. Below, you’ll find everything you need to understand how to order shots of espresso and what kind of drinks you can get. 

What Is Espresso?

Espresso, not “expresso” as people commonly mispronounce it, is a concentrated shot of coffee. This form of coffee is the product of a quick extraction process using finely ground coffee beans mixed with highly pressurized hot water. Properly poured espresso will have a layer of crema; a thick, creamy film layer on top with tiny bubbles. 

Espresso-style coffee, when ordered on its own, is offered as shots because of its reduced quantity. No, you don’t drink it like whiskey or rum. It’s called an espresso shot because the espresso machines produce the liquid in single-ounce forms, the exact measurement for a liquid shot. 

Ways to Order Espresso 

Different Ways To Order Espresso Graphic

When you order espresso-based drinks from your local coffee shop or chain franchise, you can follow these ordering instructions to customize the result to your liking. 

Shot or Single Shot

A normal shot of espresso, as previously mentioned, is roughly a single ounce of the beverage on its own. 

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Double-Shot or Double Espresso

Double Shot Espresso

The double shot is exactly as the name implies, a single espresso shot but double the quantity. It’s otherwise known as Doppio, the Italian word for double.

A Long Pull

The long pull espresso uses the same amount of finely ground coffee as a standard espresso shot but has double the amount of water. The result is a milder two-ounce espresso shot. If you want to sound fancy when you order this espresso drink, order a “lungo.”


Are you jonesing for that caffeine buzz? Order a red-eye coffee. It’s a standard drip cup of coffee with an added espresso shot. You can also order greater espresso quantities. Two espresso shots are called a Black-Eye, and three extra shots are called a Dead-Eye.

Different Types of Espresso Drinks

Different Types Of Espresso Drinks Graphic

There’s more to espresso than ordering it on its own. Chances are, your go-to coffee order has espresso in it. Here’s a list of specialty espresso-based coffee beverages you can try.

Cafe Au Lait

The cafe au lait sounds fancy, but it’s a commonly ordered drink with only two ingredients: espresso and milk. 

Americano or Cafe Americano

If you want a low-calorie boost of energy, the americano might be the coffee drink for you. It’s 1/3 espresso, 2/3 water, and all bitter. It was created in Europe during World War II to mimic the Americans’ preferred drip-style coffee. Don’t drink this black coffee if you want something syrupy and sweet. 


A trendy espresso-based coffee beverage, the macchiato, or latte macchiato, can come in many flavors. The primary formula to make a macchiato is filling the cup nearly full with espresso and topping it off with a frothy foam layer. 

However, some coffee franchises will add steamed milk to the drink alongside flavored syrups, such as caramel or vanilla. On its own, the macchiato is a potent drink, but the added foam helps cut the espresso’s bold flavor. 


The cappuccino combines foam, steamed milk, and espresso. Ideally, an authentic cappuccino will have equal parts of all three, and the foam is a separate component from the steamed milk. 

Flat White

While lesser known than the macchiato or cappuccino, the flat white is a similar milk and espresso combination. The flat white consists of a double-shot and foam. 

However, the flat white foam is more liquid than a macchiato or cappuccino, and it mixes in with the espresso instead of topping it off.

Cafe Latte or Latte

The latte is most commonly known for the fancy foam latte art that baristas create. The drink itself has two parts espresso, and one part steamed milk with a foamy cloud finish.

You can order cafe latte variations pretty much in any flavor you can think of as long as you or the coffee shop has it. 

Coffee Breve

If you take your coffee with cream, the coffee breve is for you. This espresso beverage has equal parts espresso and half-and-half milk with cream. A thin foam layer tops the drink off.  


Like a cafe au lait (coffee with milk), the cortado consists of milk and espresso in equal parts. The only difference between the two is the size. A cortado is smaller than a standard cafe au lait, making it much more concentrated. 

Espresso Con Panna

Espresso Con Panna

This sweet coffee drink has a single-ounce espresso layer topped with a hefty amount of milk. Mixed in between the layers, you’ll find a sugary caramel layer. When combined, the flavors create a warm, caramelly delight.


As you can see, casual coffee drinking is practically a thing of the past. Espresso-like coffee drinks run the entire spectrum from a bitter drink made for Americans in Europe, to fun dessert-like drinks in a variety of delicious coffee flavors. So take what you have learned from this article, check out your favorite coffee house menu, and order your espresso coffee drink like a pro.

Happy Caffeinating! 

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