Espresso Served with Water

Espresso Served with Water: How to Enjoy This Classic Italian Beverage

As a lover of coffee, you’ve likely heard of espresso served with water, also known as “cafe Americano.” This classic Italian beverage has become a staple in coffee shops around the world, but do you know how to enjoy it properly?

In this article, we will explore the history of espresso served with water, how to make it at home, and how to enjoy it like a true coffee connoisseur.


Espresso served with water has a rich history dating back to World War II when American soldiers stationed in Italy found the traditional espresso to be too strong. To make the coffee more palatable, they started adding hot water to dilute the intensity.

This created a new beverage that was lighter and more similar to the coffee they were accustomed to back home. The name “cafe Americano” was born, and the drink quickly became popular in coffee shops throughout Italy and beyond.

Why serving expresso with water is common practice?

If you are a coffee lover, you may have noticed that espresso is often served with a small glass of water. But have you ever wondered why this is?

There are a few reasons why this is a common practice.

Refreshing Your Palate

One of the primary reasons why espresso is served with water is to cleanse and refresh your palate.

Espresso is an intense and concentrated coffee drink that can leave a strong aftertaste in your mouth. Drinking water after the espresso helps to neutralize the taste and allows you to fully enjoy the next sip of espresso.


Another reason is to keep you hydrated. Coffee is a diuretic, which means it increases the production of urine in your body.

Drinking water after espresso can help to counteract this effect and keep you hydrated.


Espresso is a traditional Italian coffee drink that has been around for over a century. Serving espresso with water has been a custom since its inception. It is a way to respect and honor the history and culture of espresso.


Serving espresso with water is also a matter of presentation. The water is often served in a separate glass or cup, and it adds a visual element to the overall coffee experience.

The contrast of the clear water and the dark espresso is aesthetically pleasing and can make the coffee experience more enjoyable.


Espresso is more than just a coffee drink; it is a ritual. The act of drinking espresso is an experience that involves all of your senses.

The sound of the coffee machine, the aroma of the freshly brewed coffee, the sight of the crema, and the taste of the espresso all contribute to the overall experience.

Drinking water after the espresso is part of this ritual and enhances the overall experience.


The amount of water served with espresso can vary depending on personal preference. Some people prefer to drink water before the espresso to prepare their palate. While others prefer to drink it after to cleanse their palate.

Some people may not even drink the water at all. Offering water with espresso allows for customization and personalization of the coffee experience.

How to Make Espresso Served with Water?

Making espresso is a straightforward process that requires only a few simple steps.

  • First, you will need an espresso machine capable of producing a shot of espresso.
  • Once you have your espresso shot, heat water to just below boiling point.
  • Then, add the hot water to your espresso shot in equal parts, and voila! You have yourself a delicious cafe Americano.

If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can still enjoy espresso served with water by using a stovetop espresso maker or moka pot.

Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make your espresso shot and then add the hot water as described above.

How to Enjoy Espresso Served with Water?

While espresso served with water is a simple beverage, there are a few tips to keep in mind to enjoy it like a true coffee connoisseur.

  • Firstly, make sure your water is at the correct temperature; too hot, and it will scald the coffee, too cold, and it won’t bring out the flavor.
  • Secondly, experiment with different ratios of espresso to water until you find the perfect balance for your taste buds.
  • Lastly, don’t be afraid to enjoy your cafe Americano with a splash of milk or a dash of sugar if that’s your preference.

After all, coffee is a personal experience, and the only thing that matters is that you enjoy it.


Espresso is often served with a small glass of water on the side, typically in European cafes due to following reasons:

1. To cleanse the palate:

Espresso has a strong and intense flavor that can linger in the mouth. Drinking a small amount of water before or after the espresso can help to cleanse the palate and prepare it for the next sip or taste.

2. To enhance the flavor:

Some people believe that drinking a small amount of water before or after the espresso can enhance the flavor of the coffee.

This is because water can help to activate the taste buds and make them more sensitive to the flavors in the coffee.

3. To aid digestion:

Some people believe that drinking water after espresso can aid digestion and reduce the likelihood of indigestion or heartburn.

This is because water can help to neutralize the acidity in the stomach and promote the production of digestive enzymes.


What is espresso served with water?

Espresso served with water is a coffee beverage made by combining a shot of espresso with an equal amount of hot water. It's also known as ‘cafe Americano.’

Is espresso served with water the same as drip coffee?

No, it is not the same as drip coffee. While both use hot water to extract coffee flavor. Drip coffee is brewed through a filter using coarser grounds. While espresso is made with finely ground beans and a high-pressure machine.

Why do people add water to espresso?

Adding water to espresso dilutes the intensity of the coffee and creates a lighter, more drinkable beverage. It's a popular option for those who find traditional espresso too strong.

Can I make espresso served with water at home without an espresso machine?

Yes, you can still make it at home without an espresso machine. You can use a stovetop espresso maker or Moka pot instead.

Is it okay to add milk or sugar to the espresso served with water?

Yes, it's perfectly fine to add milk or sugar to espresso served with water, as coffee preferences are subjective. However, traditionalists may argue that it's best enjoyed black.

How should I serve espresso served with water?

It is traditionally served in a small cup or glass, similar to a shot of espresso. It can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a small pastry or biscuit.

Can I use cold water to make espresso served with water?

It's best to use hot water just below boiling point to make espresso served with water, as this will help to bring out the coffee's full flavor. Using cold water may not achieve the desired taste and could result in a weaker coffee.

Is espresso served with water stronger than regular coffee?

No, it is not necessarily stronger than regular coffee. It depends on the ratio of water to espresso used, which can be adjusted to personal preference. However, it does tend to have a more concentrated and bolder flavor than drip coffee.


In conclusion, cafe Americano is a classic Italian beverage that has become a favorite among coffee lovers around the world. With its rich history, simple preparation, and versatile flavor, it’s no wonder why.

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can make and enjoy your cafe Americano like a true coffee connoisseur. So, the next time you’re in the mood for a cup of coffee, why not give espresso served with water a try?

Emily Anderson
About the author

Emily Anderson is a coffee aficionado, a certified barista, and the founder of, a comprehensive online resource for coffee enthusiasts. With a deep appreciation for the diverse aspects of coffee, Emily is dedicated to providing readers with a wealth of information about different types of coffee, brewing methods, coffee products, and everything in between.

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