To Stir or Not to Stir

Daniëlle: Did you just stir your espresso?

Lauren: Yeah.

Daniëlle: Really? Why?

Lauren: I don’t know. I just know you’re supposed to.

Most of my friends would have let me get away with it, thinking “Oh Lauren, Oh Coffee Guru” (that might be a bit of a stretch), but alas, Daniëlle is not like most of my friends. She, like me, wants to get to the bottom of things when it comes to coffee, and so, we turned to ask Amy of The Coffee Bar why it is you’re supposed to stir your espresso.

Truth is, you don’t have to. Some people prefer espresso just as it is extracted. However, when an espresso shot is pulled, it pours in layers, starting dark and thick and eventually finishing with a light foam called crema. The crema is made of oils and carbon dioxide that contributes to a Guinness-look and a bitter taste.

Tiffany from Peregrine demonstrates how an espresso shot pours in layers

My first several experiences with espresso were not the best, and thanks to Amy and a Fundamentals of Espresso class at Peregrine, now I know why… It’s because I didn’t stir! This means the first sips I had were straight up bitter from the crema. It is not a pleasant experience. If you ask me, unless you plan to drink your shot all in one gulp, stirring is essential, providing a homogenous drink from start to finish.

However, some people prefer the layering effect that comes without stirring, making each sip different. To each his own, I say. If you’re intrigued but not quite sure about drinking espresso solo, maybe try a macchiato or cortado, both espresso drinks with a small amount of milk to balance out the flavor.

Let us know, do you stir your espresso? Do you think it makes a difference?

Keep caffeinated,


Macchiato at Northside Social

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