Admittedly Canadians are drip coffee people – we just are. Folks on the West Coast are more into espresso bar culture than most, but the drinks of choice are lattes and the like.
Flying well below the radar as the choice of a few is espresso – the teeny tiny little espresso. Every café offers it but most would be hard pressed to serve more than a handful a day, or a week for that matter. It’s such a shame.
For those of you out there who always wondered, always wanted to try it, and perhaps did and to this day remain confused as to why so little coffee arrived in such an exceedingly small cup, swearing you’ll never order such silliness again, this is for you.
Let’s begin with the “why” of it all. It fits elegantly into your day. You’re at the bar, you’re flirting with the barista, you’re debating who is going to win the Tour de France, you knock back (in three quick sips) your espresso before continuing to debate, talk with your friend, watch the beautiful people surrounding you. Then in no time at all you’re out the door and onto whatever is next.
An espresso is a small volume of intensely focused coffee essence. Less is more. Currently more is more, with many cafes serving double shots. Don’t accept it. They’re robbing you of the brief intensity of a single shot that leaves you wanting more, leaves you in anticipation of the next one, later today, that evening, perhaps tomorrow. Too much of a good thing – isn’t. Stick with the single.
I could go for one right now, perhaps you could to, and although I wish I could join you, I can’t. However, let me leave you with two additional thoughts.
The espresso cup doesn’t have to be fancy but should be appropriate. Small and shaped so that the espresso sits proportionately – filling the demitasse no more than a third to half full or so. Big cups, wide cups, square cups are verboten and rob you of the special aesthetic of enjoying a proper single shot.
Try it with a spoonful of sugar – enjoy it. A lot of sugar, a little, some folks add cream to theirs. Give’r. At the very least and especially if you’re new, ladle a bit of sugar into the cup, noting how it momentarily rests on the surface of the crema, before lazily falling through and healing back over.
Get out there and give it a try. La dolce vita beckons.