What is Cafe Romano and How does it taste

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Johny Morrisson

Cafe Romano also known as Espresso Romano is a coffee drink made with a shot of espresso, a tart lemon slice or lemon juice, and a teaspoon of sugar. While similar to an espresso at first sip, the subtle citrus flavors imparted by the lemon peel set it apart with a bright, refreshing tone.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” may be a common saying, but when you receive fresh Meyer lemons from a friend’s garden, you can create something even more special “The Cafe Romano”!

Cafe Romano

How to make Espresso Romano

You can simply prepare Espresso Romano at home following this step-by-step guide


  • 1 slice Lemon
  • Single shot Espresso
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Honey or Sugar (Optional)


  • Rub the demitasse cup’s rim gently using a lemon wedge, followed by adding a tablespoon of sugar and a few drops of lemon to the cup. Keep a small lemon wedge piece in the cup.
  • Prepare a shot of espresso using an espresso machine or a Moka pot
  • Pour freshly extracted shot directly into a demitasse cup and give it a gentle stir.
  • Garnish the drink with a slice of lemon or lemon peel for extra flavor and presentation.

This recipe is versatile, and you can customize it to your liking. If you prefer a creamier drink, add a splash of milk or cream. You can also experiment with different sweeteners or garnishes, such as a sprig of fresh mint or a dash of cinnamon.

How to make Cafe Romano

What does espresso Romano taste like?

The pairing of espresso and lemon may seem unusual at first. Still, the bitterness of espresso is balanced perfectly by the acidity of the lemon, resulting in a harmonious and well-rounded flavor profile.

I find it lightens things up without overwhelming the espresso itself. You still get that lovely sweetness and thick, emulsified texture of the crema too. The first sip hits you with that bold espresso kick, but then the citrusy twist from the lemon sneaks in, balancing it all out.

Benefits of Espresso Romano

While coffee and lemons are individually associated with potential health benefits, there is no evidence to suggest that mixing them together leads to any exceptional or magical health advantages.

“There is no scientific evidence that adding lemon to coffee enhances metabolic rate or any calorie-burning effect.” – health.com

Some drinkers claim espresso romano also helps lessen the effects of a hangover. This is because caffeine naturally reduces discomfort from headaches by constricting blood vessels, while lemon’s essential oils promote metabolism and aid digestion.

Read a detailed guide on the benefits of Espresso

The History of Espresso Romano

Espresso Romano is a relatively modern coffee drink that originated in Italy. But there is no solid evidence to support the assertion that this drink originated in Italy or Rome, despite the name’s implication of a Roman origin.

There are contradictory stories about where the beverage was first invented, and its history is buried in mystery.

Some think it was invented in America and others think it was invented in Europe.

However, it is not entirely implausible that Espresso Romano has Italian roots. Coffee consumption has a long history in Italy, with them using Moka pots and espresso machines for decades.

The espresso machine was invented in Italy in the early 20th century, and modern machines were developed in the 1930s.

One widely accepted theory regarding its rooted in late 19th-century Italy. Due to import restrictions during that time, Italians were forced to drink inexpensive, subpar instant coffee. Some Italians began putting lemon in their coffee to refine the flavor, which helped cover up the instant coffee’s taste.

According to another story, the connection between Espresso Romano and Italy dates back to the Second World War water shortage. It is reported that Italians used lemon to clean their cups and tableware during the crisis. And as a result, the flavors of lemon get mixed in the Espresso shots.

It became a well-liked beverage in various Italian coffee houses, and coffee drinkers continue to enjoy it today worldwide.

Lemon Espresso

Also read: 30 different varieties of Espresso drinks

Final thoughts

Espresso with fresh lemon flavor is a novel and mouthwatering way to enjoy the intense flavor of espresso. It has the ideal amount of acidity and bitterness, and the oils from the lemon peel add flavor and health advantages.

Personally, I love how the lemon’s acidity cuts through the espresso’s intensity, making it this unique, refreshing shot. It’s not your everyday coffee, but when you’re in the mood for something different, this little concoction surprises you in all the right ways.

Also, read the recipe for other Espresso based drinks


Can Espresso Romano Be Made With Decaf Coffee?

Yes, you can use Decaf coffee beans for preparing Espresso Romano. Since it is simply a shot of espresso with a slice of lemon, the type of coffee bean used is not critical to the recipe.

What Are Some Common Misconceptions About Espresso Romano?

Here are Some common misconceptions about Espresso Romano include:
It’s a type of coffee bean: It is not a type of coffee bean, but rather a specific way of serving espresso that involves adding a piece of lemon peel to the cup.
It’s too bitter: Adding lemon peel can balance the bitterness of espresso, resulting in a harmonious and well-rounded flavor.
It’s only enjoyed in Italy: While it is a popular beverage in Italy, it is enjoyed by coffee lovers worldwide.

Espresso Romano Recipe

Here is the recipe for Lemon Espresso. Let's have a look.
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • 1 Espresso machine


  • 1 slice Lemon
  • Single shot Espresso
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Honey or Sugar (Optional)


  • Brew a Shot of Espresso: To make a delicious Lemon Espresso, start by brewing one shot of espresso using your espresso machine.
  • Mix Lemon and Honey: While the espresso is brewing, mix fresh lemon juice and honey in a small cup or bowl.
  • Mix: Once the espresso is ready, pour it into the cup with the lemon and honey mixture and stir well.
  • Serve and Enjoy: Add a slice of lemon to the cup as a garnish for extra flavor and presentation.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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