Espresso Romano: A Classic Twist on Your Beloved Coffee


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When you think of a classic cup of espresso, you would probably picture a rich, steaming shot of concentrated coffee. However, if you’re looking to explore new ways of delighting your tastebuds while indulging in your favorite caffeinated beverage, the Espresso Romano might be your next go-to coffee recipe.

Espresso Romano is a versatile and eye-opening take on traditional espresso, combining the robust flavor of espresso with a zesty twist of lemon. This intriguing concoction can be enjoyed hot, cold, or iced, with or without milk, and it’s especially appealing to those who appreciate both coffee and citrus flavors.

Making Espresso Romano is a breeze, so you can easily whip up a batch to please your palate and introduce your friends to this delightful beverage.

Espresso Romano

History and Origins of Espresso Romano

As you explore the world of espresso, you might stumble upon a unique variation called “espresso romano.” But what is its history, and how is it connected to Italian culture? Let’s take a deep dive into the origins of this intriguing beverage.

Italian Culture

Surprisingly, the origins of espresso romano are quite unclear. Some believe it was first created in Rome, while others suggest its roots lie in Naples or Sicily, where lemons are abundant. It is also known as caffè al limone and caffè canarino in Italy.

In Spanish-speaking countries it is also popular and normally known as cafe romano.

Though the connection to Italian culture might seem obvious due to its name, the actual origin of espresso romano appears to be American. It is thought that lemon was added to balance out the flavors of a poorly brewed espresso, with the bold citrus flavors helping to balance out bitter coffee notes and cut through any acidity.

Components of Espresso Romano

The main components that make up an Espresso Romano include espresso, lemon, and sugar.


The base of any Espresso Romano is a high-quality espresso shot. To achieve the best flavor, use freshly roasted coffee beans, preferably Arabica, medium to dark roast.

The espresso should be brewed ideally using an espresso machine, ensuring that the shot has a rich crema and concentrated flavor. This will provide the perfect foundation for your Espresso Romano.


Lemon plays a crucial role in the unique flavor profile of an Espresso Romano. A slice or a twist of lemon zest is used to do the trick. Gently rub the lemon peel around the rim of your preheated espresso cup, injecting a fresh and zesty aroma to your drink.

Optionally, you can also squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the glass. This zesty and tangy addition will elevate the flavors of your espresso, creating a stimulating and refreshing experience.

The Italians would say that Sorrento lemons should be used as they are the best. But does it matter where the lemons come from? No, of course, it doesn’t. The Italians always believe that Italian is best no matter what it is. It always makes me laugh when I see pizza manufacturers claiming their pizzas are the best because they are cooked on Italian stone.


Sugar is the final component that adds sweetness to your Espresso Romano. You can use a teaspoon of sugar to offset the bitterness of the espresso and complement the lemon’s acidity. The choice of sugar type is up to your preference – white, brown, or raw sugar – but remember that each type imparts a slightly different flavor.

Brewing Techniques and Equipment

Espresso made in an espresso machine

When it comes to brewing a delicious Espresso Romano, the method and equipment you choose can greatly impact the taste and quality of your coffee. These are three popular brewing techniques: using an espresso machine, a moka pot, and instant coffee.

Espresso Machine

For those who have an espresso machine at home, this is the ideal way to brew your Espresso Romano. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Preheat your espresso cup with steam, then rub a lemon peel around the rim of the cup. Optionally, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the cup.
  2. Brew your espresso shot as you normally would with your espresso machine.
  3. Pour the hot espresso into your lemon-scented cup and sweeten it to taste.

Moka Pot

If you don’t have an espresso machine, a moka pot can be a great alternative. Here’s how to make Espresso Romano with a moka pot:

  1. Preheat your serving cup by rinsing it with hot water, then rub a lemon peel around the rim. Optionally, add a few drops of lemon juice to the cup.
  2. Fill the moka pot’s water chamber with cold water up to the valve.
  3. Fill the coffee basket with finely ground coffee, then level it off without compressing the grounds. Place the basket in the moka pot and screw the top on it securely.
  4. Place the moka pot on a heat source and wait for the coffee to brew. Once it’s done, pour it into your lemon-scented cup and sweeten to taste.

Instant Coffee

While not the most ideal method, you can still make Espresso Romano using instant coffee. Follow these steps:

  1. Heat water to boiling, then preheat your cup by pouring hot water into it. Rub a lemon peel around the rim of the cup and add a few drops of lemon juice, if desired.
  2. Empty the water from your preheated cup and mix the instant coffee with hot water according to the package instructions.
  3. Pour the instant coffee into your lemon-scented cup and sweeten to taste.

Regardless of the brewing method you choose, enjoying a cup of Espresso Romano is a unique and refreshing experience. Experiment with different techniques and equipment to find the perfect balance of coffee and lemon flavors for your taste buds.

Espresso Romano Recipe and Preparation

Espresso Romano Recipe

Preparing an Espresso Romano is easy and enjoyable. In this section, we will guide you through the process step by step, ensuring that you get the most out of this interesting and zesty coffee experience.

Prep Time

Preparing the ingredients for an Espresso Romano only takes a few minutes. Gather the following items:

  • 1 ounce of espresso, light-medium roast
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar

Cook Time

Once you have the ingredients ready, it’s time to make your Espresso Romano:

  1. Preheat your espresso cup with steam, using the steamer wand on your espresso machine if possible.
  2. Rub the lemon peel onto the rim of the cup. Optionally, you can squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the cup.
  3. Brew a shot of espresso using your preferred method or machine, then pour it into your lemon-scented cup.
  4. Sweeten the espresso with 1 teaspoon of sugar according to your taste preference.

Total Time

The entire process of making an Espresso Romano should take approximately 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your familiarity with your espresso machine and brewing methods.

Now you know how to create your very own Espresso Romano with ease. Enjoy this zesty, refreshing twist on a classic espresso and spread the zest by sharing this unique recipe with fellow coffee lovers!

Flavor Profile and Taste

As you explore the unique taste of Espresso Romano, your palette will be introduced to a blend of flavors and sensations, thanks to the combination of espresso coffee and subtle citrus notes.

Let’s dive into the acidity, bitterness, and citrus notes of the Espresso Romano.


When you take your first sip, you’ll notice that the acidity in Espresso Romano is slightly different than that of a regular espresso. The addition of lemon brings a bright and refreshing twist. The citrus fruit tempers the natural acidity of the coffee, thus creating a well-balanced flavor profile.


The bitterness in an Espresso Romano is unmistakable due to the robust espresso shot as the base. However, the infusion of lemon contributes to a less harsh overall bitterness. If the bitterness is too strong for your liking, you may choose to add sugar, which will help to enhance the citrus flavor while reducing the intensity of the bitterness.

Citrus Notes

Now, let’s talk about those tantalizing citrus notes. The lemon peel, rubbed along the edge of the cup, effortlessly infuses the Espresso Romano with its gentle aroma, transforming the overall taste. As you sip, pay attention to how the lemon subtly intertwines with the espresso, creating a delightful combination that enhances the boldness of the coffee while introducing a new layer of complexity.

Variations and Alternatives

Espresso Romano with orange and milk

There are various variations and alternatives to the classic Espresso Romano giving you more options to enjoy this zesty and unique coffee beverage.

Orange and Tangerine

Instead of the usual lemon element in Espresso Romano, you can experiment with other citrus fruits like orange and tangerine. These options bring a different, yet equally delightful citrus twist to your espresso drink.

Try swapping the lemon twist with a slice of orange or a peel of tangerine, both offering a sweeter and more subtle citrus flavor. Also, adding a few drops of fresh orange or tangerine juice can enhance the fruity notes, creating a delightful contrast to the rich espresso.

Milk and Cream

Some variations of Espresso Romano incorporate milk or cream to balance the intensity of the coffee while keeping the citrus twist. The addition of milk or cream can make the overall texture of the drink smoother and creamier.

For a more indulgent treat, you might even choose to add a dollop of whipped cream on top of your citrus-infused espresso. This combination creates a velvety, dessert-like beverage that will surely surprise and delight your taste buds.

Health Benefits and Concerns

Espresso Romano not only offers an intense and unique taste, but it also provides several health benefits. In this section, let’s explore how this intriguing blend of espresso and lemon impacts digestion and metabolic function, mood and alertness, and heart disease.

Digestion and Metabolic Function

Adding lemon to your espresso may aid in digestion and boost your metabolic function. The essential oils in lemon are known to be helpful for digestion, while caffeine is a natural stimulant that can increase metabolism. When combined in an Espresso Romano, you get the benefits of both ingredients working together to enhance these functions.

Mood and Alertness

Caffeine in espresso is well known for its ability to lift your mood and increase your alertness. By enjoying an Espresso Romano, you’ll likely experience improved focus and attention, which can be beneficial in various situations. The natural antioxidants found in coffee also offer protection to your cells from damage, making it a delicious and healthy choice.

Heart Disease

Drinking espresso in moderate amounts has been linked to a decreased risk of stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. By incorporating Espresso Romano as part of your daily routine, you could help protect your heart and maintain overall health.

However, keep in mind that consuming excessive amounts of caffeine can lead to health concerns. It’s essential to find the right balance and not exceed the recommended daily limit, which is typically around six cups of espresso.

Final Thoughts

When visiting your local coffee shop, look out for the Espresso Romano on their menu. It may not be as common as other espresso drinks, but many specialty coffee shops appreciate this versatile option. You can enjoy it hot, cold, or even served over ice. Remember to ask for a lemon wedge to complete the experience.

Whether you’re among fellow coffee lovers in a bustling café or savoring a moment of peace at home, an Espresso Romano is the perfect way to elevate your regular espresso routine. Introducing a little zesty lemon to your espresso may just become your new favorite twist on an old classic.

Find out about all the different types of coffee drinks in our complete guide.


The Espresso Romano, originated from Italy, is a delightful concoction that combines the bold flavor of Romano coffee with the zesty twist of lemon.

Wondering how this invigorating espresso is made? Well, it’s quite simple! Baristas expertly prepare this unique beverage by carefully extracting a shot of rich and aromatic espresso, which forms the foundation of the Espresso Romano.

This shot of espresso, known for its distinctive taste, is then skillfully paired with a hint of citrusy goodness. The marriage of the robust Romano coffee with the refreshing zest of lemon creates an unparalleled sensory experience.

So next time you visit a coffee shop, ask for the famous Espresso Romano, and indulge in this one-of-a-kind coffee delight!

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