Why is Espresso served with Sparkling water?

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Johny Morrisson

The main reason for serving Espresso with water is to make your taste buds ready to accept the rich flavors of Espresso. Water cleans your palate and removes the aftertaste of anything you have eaten before.

So, it’s customary to drink a sip of water as it will help to experience the real taste of Espresso.

But the role of the water goes even further. There are actually 5 different theories for serving sidecar (sparkling water) with Espresso. Let’s dive into the reasons why as a true espresso lover you should embrace this dynamic duo.

Why is espresso served with water

1. For cleansing of Palate

The most widely accepted reason for serving espresso with water is to cleanse your palate or refresh the taste buds.

Baristas around the world serve sparkling water with espresso to ensure the most enjoyable experience possible.

Italians hold espresso in the highest regard, and they consider it disrespectful to consume it without first ensuring that the palate is free of any lingering flavors.

Taking a sip of water before drinking espresso is essential for fully appreciating its unique flavor profile. I have found that this simple act allows me to savor the full spectrum of flavors that espresso has to offer.

2. To avoid dehydration

We know that coffee contains caffeine and all caffeinated drinks have a diuretic effect which tends to dehydrate your body.

So, it might be the reason for serving water with Espresso to rehydrate your body after having Espresso.

But coffee only has a mild diuretic effect, and according to studies, it is not necessary to drink water after having a cup of coffee unless you are drinking too much coffee.

In hot and humid areas, it is recommended to drink water after or before having a cup of coffee because it is essential to keep your body hydrated at higher temperatures.

Read more: How long does an Espresso Shot last or does it get expired over time

3. To avoid bad Breath

bad breath

If you like to have a shot of Espresso after breakfast in the morning. Then having water after it might help you to avoid bad coffee Breath.

Does Espresso really cause bad Breath?

Yes, Espresso contains sulfur and caffeine, which tends to dehydrate your body and slow the production of saliva in your mouth, which causes bad Breath.

Espresso is a rich beverage containing numerous oils that can linger on the palate for an extended period. Sipping water helps to cleanse the mouth of these oils and stimulate saliva production, which can help to prevent bad breath.

However, if you enjoy the lingering aftertaste of espresso and do not plan to interact with others, you can choose to forgo the water. The decision is a matter of personal preference.

4. To avoid irritation in the stomach

Espresso is an acidic beverage that can irritate the stomach in some individuals who are particularly sensitive to coffee acids. Drinking water after Espresso can be good for an individual with a sensitive stomach as water nullifies the effect of coffee acids and prevents irritation.

Consuming espresso on an empty stomach can increase this effect. Therefore, it is generally recommended to have espresso after breakfast.

Also read: Is Espresso Less Acidic than Coffee

5. To eliminate the crash of caffeine 

The caffeine crash usually happens after two to three hours of having Espresso or any type of coffee. The crash of caffeine causes headaches and tiredness and makes you sleepy.

When we are tired our brain releases the adenosine hormone. When we have a cup of coffee, the caffeine present in coffee blocks this adenosine hormone. 

But at the same time, the brain does not stop producing adenosine, so when the caffeine gets off the body, we suddenly start feeling very tired and sleepy.

It is commonly believed that having water after coffee helps eliminate the effect of the crash of caffeine. 

Read a guide on: How much Espresso is too much

Should you drink water before or after espresso?

There are no set guidelines on when you should drink water and espresso.

Some enjoy sipping water before espresso to cleanse their palate and prepare their taste buds.

Others drink water during espresso sipping to refresh their mouth between sips.

Drinking water after finishing an espresso shot can help avoid dehydration and bad coffee breath.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference – you can experiment with drinking water before, during, and after espresso to see what suits you better.

drink water with espresso

Mineral water or sparkling water with Espresso | What you should prefer?

In sparkling water, carbon dioxide is infused under pressure to make it slightly acidic. You may have noticed small carbon dioxide bubbles in a glass of sparkling water.

Sparkling is slightly acidic, and it helps to nullify the sour taste of Espresso and cleanse your palate.

So, if you are like me and hate the sour taste of Espresso, you should drink sparkling water before having Espresso.

There is not much difference between sparkling water and mineral water; they both work fine to clean your taste buds.

Read a guide on benefits of the Espresso

How do real Italians drink espresso?

First, let me tell you I am not Italian and this is not the way all Italians drink Espresso. One of my Italian friends, who is well-versed in espresso, gave me some tips on how to enjoy it to the fullest.

1- Take a sip of water: Start with taking a sip of water to clean your palate.

2- Feel the Aroma: Feeling the aroma of espresso before taking the first sip is an important part of the espresso-drinking experience.

3- Shake or stir the Espresso: To enjoy the balanced flavor of the Espresso shot it’s important to give it a few shakes or stir it with a spoon. However, some people absolutely hate this practice.

4- Finish the drink in three sips: In traditional Italian culture, it is common to drink espresso in three small sips. However, some people like to finish it with just one sip.

how to drink Espresso

Can you add water to Espresso?

Yeah, you can add water to Espresso.  Espresso is very rich and intense in taste. You can add water to make the flavor less intense, and the resulting drink is called Americano or long black.

In Americano, water is added over the freshly brewed Espresso. The ratio of water to Espresso is usually 2 to 1. The Americano drink was popularized by American soldiers stationed in Italy during World War 2.

If you are looking for an affordable Espresso machine. Check out these reviews

Final thoughts

I definitely recommend you drink water before having a cup of Espresso. Because if you have eaten something sweet or something strong in flavor before drinking Espresso. It will ruin your experience with this delicious coffee drink.

 So next time you are about to have a cup of Espresso, just take a sip of water to clean your palate. You will surely notice the difference in taste and experience the most unique Espresso flavors.

If you know any other theories for serving espresso with water, please do share them in the comments section.


Can you brew Espresso with sparkling water?

No, there is no benefit of using sparkling water for brewing Espresso. As water is heated in the espresso machine, the gases and carbon dioxide present in sparkling water are expelled.
Therefore, the use of expensive sparkling water in espresso machines doesn’t make any sense, since it is unlikely to have a significant impact on the flavor or quality of the coffee.

Why is espresso served with Lemon?

Espresso Romano, a variant of espresso served with lemon rind, is perfect for those who find the bitterness of espresso to be overpowering. The lemon rind acts as a natural de-bittering agent, absorbing some of the bitterness from the espresso.

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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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