Coffee is one of the most popular beverages of our time. Countless people rely on this caffeinated drink just to get through their day, and as a popular staple all over the world, it is surprising how little we really know about it.

Unlike traditional coffee, a doppio espresso comes as a much smaller serving and contains a rich, velvety taste that is very distinctive of espresso.

A doppio espresso is simply a double shot of espresso served in a slightly larger cup. The traditional doppio espresso – a short drink initially popularized in the 80s – is originally Italian, brewed using espresso-fine coffee grounds, and served worldwide in coffee bars and cafes.

In the rest of this article, I will explain exactly where the doppio espresso originates from, a brief history of the concept, misconceptions about the beverage, nutritional benefits and disadvantages of espresso, what machines are needed to create it, and how you can make it yourself at home.

Where does the term ‘doppio espresso’ come from?

The term ‘doppio espresso’ is originally an Italian phrase that simply means ‘double espresso.’

In Italian, the word ‘espresso’ originates from the Italian word esprimere, which literally means to press out or express.

This may well hail from how espresso is made, which uses very finely-pressed coffee beans to create that rich, creamy texture that is so unique for espresso.

A brief history of the espresso

Although espresso was only created in the 19th century, coffee is an age-old concept that has always been culturally significant.

Interestingly, when coffee first arrived in Italy in the late 18th century, the Catholic Church initially claimed that drinking coffee was associated with devil worshippers, and its ability to energize its consumers was widely discouraged among religious citizens.

The very first espresso dates all the way back to the late 19th century (1884, to be exact).

Espresso coffee in a small glass.

The first mention of such a phenomenon came from Angelo Moriondo, who patented the first steam-operated coffee machinery.

This machine created by Moriondo pushed water through coffee grounds and brewed coffee using a steam mechanism – and was indeed the first machine of its kind to be patented.

However, although this machine signified an apparent breakthrough for coffee lovers throughout Europe, the beverage would need a further twenty years of development before becoming famous.

In time, the name Angelo Moriondo has disappeared into a faint memory, but in fact, it is him that we must credit for the invention of the coffee machine.

Who were the original creators of the espresso?

After Angelo Moriondo patented his steam-powered coffee machine, two eager inventors came on the scene: Luigi Bezzerra and Desiderio Pavoni.

Bezzerra and Pavoni were genius marketers who placed the world’s first single-shot espresso machine on display at a fair in Milan in 1906.

They had improved upon Angelo Moriondo’s pressure and steam invention, and their machine created bitter, rich espresso shots – the very first of its kind.

Over time, the popularity of Bezzerra and Pavoni’s machines boomed, and people all over Europe were trying to create new and innovative ways to make and drink the popular beverage.

After the two coffee entrepreneurs had left their mark with the espresso machine, Pier Arduino followed in their footsteps, marketing the caffeinated beverage as a product of high society.

Finally, in 1938, a barista from Milan called Achille Gaggia developed the espresso to what we know today and brought in the popular espresso machines we know today.

The evolution of the espresso: a worldwide phenomenon

Over the next 100 years, the concept of espresso increased across Europe and beyond. Eventually, as technology improved and more machines were designed, the espresso became one of the most popular beverages of our time.

The more modern equipment needed to make espresso now includes espresso machines powered by pumps, automatic espresso machines, semi-automatic espresso machines, and espresso grinders.

Due to substantial technological growth, the espresso machine became one of the most sought-after appliances in the world.

Nowadays, the concept of a single espresso (solo) was seemingly not quite enough caffeine for the busy working person.

Therefore, the doppio espresso became vastly popular throughout Europe and North America.

Single espresso on the left. Doppio on the right

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the company that made the doppio espresso so fashionable was the coffee conglomerate Starbucks.

In the early 1990s in Seattle (the birthplace of Starbucks), the company began to market the drink as a compromise between a single espresso and a whole coffee – it was a genius move.

The cultural significance of the doppio espresso

It is relatively unsurprising that espresso has enormous cultural significance in Italy and many places in Europe and the United States.

However, you may be shocked to know that the doppio espresso itself is, in fact, not particularly common in Italy.

On the contrary, Italians tend to prefer a single shot of espresso instead of a double shot.

In the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and many other countries, the doppio espresso is still extraordinarily popular – anywhere that has a Starbucks.

Additionally, in many places in central Europe, a double espresso is the norm; therefore, in many cases, you do not have to specify that you wish to have a doppio espresso.

Misconceptions about doppio espresso

Very often, the doppio espresso (or double espresso) is confused with a long espresso. A long espresso (or lungo espresso) is mainly similar to a doppio espresso.

Still, it includes added hot water after the coffee has been made, resulting in a longer drink – hence, of course, the name.

That being said, a doppio espresso needs much less water to make than a regular coffee and needs around 50 ml (1.69 oz) of water to be made.

Espresso on the left. Coffee on the right

A little-known fact about the doppio espresso is that it is also the fastest caffeinated beverage to make.

On average, the espresso can be brewed in under 30 seconds, while more traditional coffee takes about six minutes to be brewed.

Furthermore, if you’re ever “pressed” for time, an espresso is the way to go.

Another little-known fact is that espresso often tends to be slightly more acidic than traditionally brewed coffee – and this is why doppio espressos are so incredibly bitter.

When is the best time of day to drink a doppio espresso?

Interestingly, a doppio espresso is often a beverage consumed after a big meal because it has energizing properties that allow it to counteract with any sleepiness induced by food.

Others might suggest that it is better consumed in the mornings or early afternoons, as caffeine can keep you awake for longer and, in large doses, it can cause trouble sleeping at night.

In Italy, it is often advised to drink your espresso quickly while standing at a bar. This is because the natural oils that gather in a layer over the espresso are essential for the taste – and tend to disappear quickly.

Tip: Make an iced espresso for those hot days!

Iced espresso recipe.
Iced espresso

How many doppio espressos are safe to drink?

Many of us rely upon daily caffeine consumption to get through the workday, and it is a universal sentiment that a cup of coffee can certainly brighten your mood.

However, caffeine can cause chronic insomnia and anxiety in high doses, as caffeine is a stimulant.

Those who consume copious amounts of caffeine frequently feel jittery and experience shakiness, a phenomenon that is generally accepted after exposure to too much of the stuff.

Recent studies have suggested that one should consume no more than five espresso shots a day, as there are many risks to drinking too much caffeine.

Interestingly, although five shots a day might be considered bad for your health, other studies have suggested that four shots of espresso a day is optimal for achieving good heart health.

If enjoyed at a minimum, your daily espresso could potentially decrease your risk of getting diabetes, lessen your risk of having a stroke, and it might even act as a preventative from depression.

Furthermore, you can enjoy up to two doppio espressos a day – or four single espressos.


Remember, espresso coffee is used to make many coffees, such as a latte, cappuccino, and Americano.

Medical disadvantages to drinking doppio espresso

Despite the fact that society has deemed it acceptable to drink daily, caffeine is actually highly addictive.

Much like alcohol, caffeine withdrawal can cause insomnia and sleeplessness, headaches, and anxiety. It can increase your risk of liver damage, and overall it can increase your blood pressure.

While a regular coffee generally contains one shot, a doppio espresso is double that – so it is worth bearing in mind when having more than one.

How to make doppio espresso

The doppio espresso is very simple to make, assuming, of course, that you have the right equipment. You’ll need a decent espresso machine and some good-quality ground coffee beans in order to make it properly.

Before we delve into the how-tos of making espresso, let’s talk about the types of coffee grounds you’ll need and what brewing methods are available.

Espresso grounds

The coffee grounds you need to make espresso are, in fact, the same as those you would need to make a regular coffee.

The only real difference is that the beans you use to make espresso need to be very finely ground to enable the espresso to reach that rich, flavorful spice that is so distinctive of espresso:

When using these fine coffee grounds, an espresso machine is characterized by its use of very high pressure to ensure all that lovely flavor gets into your coffee.

In the average cup of doppio espresso, around 14 g (0.49 oz) of coffee powder is needed, and approximately 50 ml (1.69 oz) of water is used with each serving.

It should go without saying that the best doppio espresso should be made with the best coffee grounds – so if you are making a doppio espresso from the comfort of your own home, be sure to use the freshest coffee grounds possible.

In addition, the coffee beans you use to make the doppio espresso should be slightly darker than those used to make regular coffee, as this extra dark roast:

Extra dark roasted coffee beans.

If you want to learn more about the difference, you can check out the difference between espresso beans and coffee beans in this article.

Espresso machines: how to choose the best machine for your needs

We’ve all thought it: having an espresso machine at home can be quite literally a lifesaver. You no longer have to wait in a queue at your nearest coffee bar to get your hands on your morning espresso – now you can have it at home.

Brewing espresso shots.

Now that technology has advanced so much, there are countless brands and types of espresso machines to choose from.

There are some hefty price tags at the top end of the range, to be sure, with the top machines coming at a somewhat eye-watering price of around $1000.

Built-in features such as milk frothers and WiFi controls often hike up the cost of the espresso machine.

However, there are indeed some very affordable machines, and fortunately, there is something for just about every budget.

Additionally, you can be sure that although an espresso machine might set you back a bit, it will surely save you money in the long run.

The best way to decide on the espresso machine that is right for you is to determine which features you need on your device.

For example, if you decide that you would like to determine the strength of your espresso, this might change the price.

Along the same vein, if you would like a machine that can produce two espresso servings simultaneously, the price will likely be higher.

However, as I mentioned, there are many alternatives for the tight budget. For instance this DeLonghi Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, from Amazon comes at a very reasonable price.

If you’re looking for a touchscreen control panel that allows you to choose between espresso and other types of coffee, then this Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker from Amazon might be best for you.

Choosing a suitable machine is paramount to the quality and taste of a doppio espresso, so be sure to select the right one for your needs.

Final thoughts

There are so many beautiful things about coffee, but the doppio espresso is most certainly the king of caffeinated beverages.

With its convenient design and budget-friendly qualities, it is not surprising that it is now one of the most popular drinks in the world.

If you like brewing espresso coffee at home, you might want to check out the easy-to-make recipes below!

Espresso recipes to try

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