THE BARISTA'S DOPPIO
BY DAVID HAWLEY
It doesn't matter if it’s your first time in a cafe or you’ve been working in coffee for years, there can be a lot of confusion when ordering a delicious beverage. This is in no small measure due to the use of antiquated and obscure Italian terminology. It is true that we owe much to Italy when it comes to espresso but as we appropriate and re-contextualize their language we find things to be a bit muddled. Among these fun and fancy sounding words, we find the doppio! Meaning simply double, the doppio has evolved from a designation of quantity to a full experience on its own. If you order a doppio what you receive will likely vary from shop to shop but the basics should stay the same: the equivalent of two shots of espresso. Specialty coffee has dressed up this uncomplicated beverage to create an expansive experience aimed to highlight the complexities of espresso rather than merely providing a vehicle for caffeine.
The staples of doppio presentation are sparkling water and a tiny little spoon. The water is used as a palette cleanser as well as a bit of refreshment after the intense experience of drinking straight espresso. The spoon was traditionally used to stir in sugar to an espresso that needed to be made more palatable. The goals of specialty coffee would make espresso a wholly enjoyable drink in its own right. The spoon has become largely decoration, although many will integrate the crema with a little stir.
When drinking the espresso, it is best to drink it fairly quickly as coffee and especially espresso is a very volatile substance. As it cools the flavors will be changing and usually not in the most enjoyable ways. A freshly pulled espresso should have a layer of lighter colored foam on top called crema. This is formed by trapped CO2 within the beans and is typically bitter if tasted on its own, which is why some will stir it into the rest of the espresso. Properly extracted, the doppio should be sweet, complex, and smooth.
The composition of espresso is a very in-depth discussion and we won’t go into that here but hopefully, we have shed some light on what exactly the doppio is. You can now order a doppio with confidence! Though maybe you should just order an espresso. It’s the same thing and you won’t sound like a tool.
Barista at Evans Brothers Coffee