Perfect Daily Grind: A Beginner’s Guide to Tasting Espresso

When tasting espresso, it takes time and patience to develop and refine your palate to enjoy the multitude of flavours hiding within. Learn the secrets that 3 baristas have to share with you!

Ah, espresso. A drink rich with culture and history, dating back to 1901 when it was first introduced in Italy. Today, you’ll see this at every cafe you visit. Espresso forms the base of our favourite lattes, cappuccinos and flat whites, after all!

But what about on its own? 

Espresso is a bold, concentrated brew. It has a reputation of being intense and somewhat bitter. So yes, it can come across as quite a shock for the uninitiated. So many people give up after taking that first sip. But the truth is, it takes time to develop and refine your palate to enjoy the multitude of flavours hiding within. 

As a barista, I’ve been pulling shots since day one for milk coffees, but I’ve never really liked the vicious espresso. I always found them too overpowering. (Yeap, you’re hearing that from a specialty coffee barista, who’s very job is to dial-in espresso so that it tastes good for customers!)

Until recently. I’ve come to realize just how amazing espresso can taste…the cascade of flavours and feels when I sip it. It forms an entire sensory experience from start to finish! It packs a real punch, and is an absolutely incredible thing to drink. 

Espresso can get complex though. Just look at the marksheet for the World Barista Championships: judges access sweetness, uniformity, acidity, balance, how ‘clean’ the cup tastes, and a whole host of other components! Quite daunting, eh?

Which is why I’ve partnered up with Perfect Daily Grind – one of the world’s leading coffee publications, to write an article on this very topic! 

Aptly titled “A Beginner’s Guide To Tasting Espresso”, this article covers the top 4 components you should look for when tasting espresso.

  1. Aroma
  2. Body
  3. Flavour 
  4. Finish
  5. Bonus: Crema!

What are they? How do you taste them? Why do they matter? 

I interviewed two fellow specialty coffee baristas, and compiled their most valuable tips, tricks and secrets. Evangelos “Vag” Koulougousidis, Lead Barista of WatchHouse in London, who placed 3rd in the 2020 UK Barista Championships; and Tyler Hickmott, barista, latte artist and cafe manager with Mojo Coffee in New Zealand. 

Click the link to read the full article here: 

Aroma, Body, Flavour, Finish: A Beginner’s Guide to Tasting Espresso

tasting espresso article

Interested in a step-by-step guide that teaches you the fundamentals of espresso preparation? Check out our Home Guide to Espresso Part 2: A Simplified, 10-Step Guide on How to Make Espresso