Espresso is an integral part of many coffee lover’s daily life! We sip it at anytime you want and just enjoy the natural aromas and scents that comes from it.
But have you ever wondered why are espresso cups so small? This is something that has plagued our minds, so we decided to do a bit of research and answer the question for you and ourselves.
Before we get into answering the question, we got to cover a bit of background about Espresso. Espresso is served in a delicate small mug in which the coffee with a frothy layer on top, usually the foam from the brewing process.
Espresso is brewed with a blend of hot water under intense pressure. To make the best espresso, the beans of coffee should be ground into very fine powder.
You cannot use gritty, grainy coffee powder into the machine. This finely ground powder is compressed into a compact lump. It is not strong coffee but a flavorful espresso using a different preparation method.
Now that we got some basics about espresso out the way, we can cover off the main question then followed with some additional things you may not know about espresso.
Why are espresso cups so small?
Espresso is made by pressing coffee and it has a crema layer on top to lock the aroma within the espresso.
To sustain this crema, the espresso cups are made small and the reason they are served in small cups is to avoid the creme layer to spread out!
Falling or dissipating crema can also make the espresso cold. Espresso is thicker and consists of lesser water as compared to a drip coffee. It is caffeine packed and flavorful into a small cup.
Some primary aspects of espresso cups being small are:
- Crema, which is a foam layer forms on the top of an expresso. It is decorated on the top of the espresso. Espresso and cream make the cup. Selecting a large wide cup can result in the dissolving of crema. Crema is very important in making expresso perfect. Crema becomes very thin and gradually dissipates in a large cup.
- Espresso is also very concentrated, and so you can say it is a shrunken form of coffee and a strong one in a small cup. A small cup itself tastes very strong, so much that it can use 7oz. of milk for 1 oz. of espresso.
- A typical espresso is about 1-2 fluid ounces, which is right in a small cup.
- Espresso is about getting less water in a coffee that is too topped with foam crema.
Espresso in a small cup is just the right way to enjoy it. Its concentration, water content, and crema are in the right proportions in typical cup size.
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What size should an espresso cup be?
An espresso cup is of a typical size of 2-3 fluid ounces and the cup size is about half of the regular cup of coffee.
Hence, the espresso cup is also termed as "Demitasse Cup" in French, which is nothing but half a cup. The espresso cups are about 2-2 and 1/2 inches tall.
This is because if the cup is bigger, then there is a high chance of crema spreading out and unlocking the expressing aroma. Not only this, once crema splits, but it also spreads out and thins.
This eventually makes the crema disappear fast. A large cup impacts the espresso temperature as well. This makes the espresso turn cold very quickly.
Below we will take at each cup size with its standard and metric equivalents to get a better picture:
- One cup means 2 ounces or 59 ml
- Two cups mean 4 ounces or 118ml
- Three cups mean 6 ounces or 177ml
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How quickly should you drink espresso?
Espresso, as the name suggests, should be made quick and also had quickly to get the best flavor, taste, and aroma. It should be drunk with "crema" on top.
What is crema? It is the creamy coffee oil emulsion that covers the espresso. It is a covering lid for espresso beneath. This way, all the espresso aromas are locked within to enjoy while drinking.
This emulsion is essential as the aroma dissipates fast. But then, how quickly should it be drunk to get overall espresso pleasure?
An espresso cup, traditionally, which is about 1-2 fl. ouces of coffee, should take about 25 seconds to get excellent espresso. But, when it comes to drinking it, to enjoy its flavor and aroma, but without making it cold, it would need around 2 minutes to sip an espresso cup.
Drink the espresso with crema layer on top to lock in the aroma without dissipation.
Take your espresso in three or more than three sips in about 30 seconds to as much as 4 minutes also. This time is particularly applicable for a double espresso shot.
The duration depends on how well you want to savor the drink with its flavors and aroma. It is essential to remember that a long time doesn't mean more taste like the aroma and crema to dissipate with a longer time.
The time mentioned is sufficient enough to enjoy the espresso to the fullest. Beyond which, you are bound to get a cold, taste-fading espresso.
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Why is espresso so strong?
Espresso is high in concentration and, therefore, can appear stronger as compared to regular coffee. It can also taste bitter than a regular brewed coffee.
But, the coffee strength is determined by the method and level of roasting of coffee beans and not how it is brewed.
Generally, coffee beans are roasted at three levels- Dark, medium, and light roast. Dark roast is done at 225 deg C to 230 deg C, medium roast is done at 210 deg C to 219 deg C, and the light roast is done at 196 deg C to 205 deg C temperatures.
The more the roasting of coffee beans, the enhanced will be its taste. On the same lines, the dark coffee roast is most strong of all coffee types.
An espresso made out of these dark roast of coffee beans results in a strong espresso as compared to regular coffee.
From the article above, we can see why a small cup is essential and important to get a perfect espresso. It is very important as a small cup with foamy crema keeps the espresso aroma, temperature, and flavor intact.
The crema is very important to be thick and covering the coffee fluid. A larger cup can make the crema fall out, thin out, and eventually disappear.
This, in turn, makes the espresso flavorless, aroma less, and cold. Who would want to have a compromised, flavorless, and cold espresso? Get your typical small espresso cup and take pleasure in each sip.