Why Is Mineral Water Served with Espresso_

Why Is Mineral Water Served with Espresso?

The best baristas serve a glass of mineral water with the espresso. This is very common in Italy if you have an espresso at the bar but many espresso aficionados wonder why?

We have dug deep into this, and here are the top reasons:

  • Mineral water helps to freshen the mouth before tasting the espresso
  • Coffee contains caffeine which is considered a diuretic and sipping water helps to balance the fluids. 

However there is more to it and also some caveats to be considered. 

Sparkling Water Leaves the Mouth Fresh

An espresso is an intense, sophisticated taste experience.

In order to fully appreciate the subtleties of the adventure, coffee drinkers often choose to drink all or part of a glass of water to cleanse their taste buds before taking the first sip of a shot of espresso.

Many espresso lovers have discovered that mineral water is even more effective in providing a fresh mouth than plain water.

Mineral water (sometimes called sparkling water) is simply pure water that has been carbonated by the introduction of carbon dioxide gas under pressure.

The effervescent bubbles that characterize mineral water seem to administer deep-cleaning action to the tongue, readying it for unhindered enjoyment of the flavors of the espresso.

Once you have savored your coffee to the last drop, what should you do with the remaining water in your glass?

That depends on the quality of the espresso.

If the espresso was perfect – exquisite – you will probably want to shove what is left of the glass of water back across the bar and allow the aftertaste of the coffee to linger on your tongue.

If the coffee wasn’t that great, however, or if you would simply prefer to freshen your mouth before heading into the day, you may decide to gulp down the rest of the mineral water.

If your espresso was a preamble to enjoying other drinks or food, perhaps you will consider using the mineral water to alleviate the strong flavor of the coffee before beginning the next course.

You Might Want to Mix an Americano

The poignant taste of an espresso is the driving motive behind the specialized machines that were invented and are utilized to brew it.

Nevertheless, espresso can be so overpowering that the average coffee drinker finds it difficult to truly enjoy the experience.

If you want to revel in the unique flavor of an espresso but do not appreciate its strength, creating an Americano is the perfect option.

Simply pour the provided water into your espresso until you have diluted it to your taste preferences.

An Americano retains the exclusive characteristics of an espresso while mitigating its overwhelming strength.

As opposed to using plain water, mineral water poured over the top of an espresso creates a fun, fizzy version of the Americano.

For hot weather, the espresso and carbonated water can be poured over a handful of ice to produce a cold Americano under a layer of frothy foam.

Why Is Mineral Water Served with Espresso_

Popular Advice Recommends a Cup of Water for Every Cup of Coffee

It’s a common debate.

If you find yourself driving late at night, should you resort to drinking coffee to keep awake?

Or should you avoid coffee and use other tactics for staying awake instead, since drinking coffee may force you to have to stop more often for bathroom breaks?

This debate is common because in many instances, personal experience has confirmed the fact that coffee is indeed often considered a diuretic – something that causes more frequent urination.

This leads to several questions.

  • Why does coffee cause some people to have to go to the toilet more often?
  • Is it harmful?
  • Can it lead to dehydration?
  • How should it affect responsible coffee drinking?

Coffee is often cited as being a diuretic because it contains caffeine.

When products containing a significant amount of caffeine are consumed in unusually large quantities, research and personal experience both indicate that they can have a diuretic effect.

However, especially when it comes to coffee, this effect may not be as significant as popular opinion has previously declared it to be.

The diuretic effect of the caffeine in coffee is largely offset by the amount of water you are drinking in that cup of coffee.

It may be true that drinking coffee increases your need to use the bathroom.

But then, so will drinking juice. Or milk. Or water, for that matter. Consuming any liquid, in fact, naturally leads to an increased need for urination. That’s only common sense. Your needing to use the bathroom more often after drinking coffee does not necessarily provide proof that the coffee is acting as a strong diuretic.

Coffee may actually be an acceptable source of hydration.

Unless you are drinking a much greater quantity of coffee than you usually consume, more recent research suggests that the caffeine content of that coffee is not sufficient to cause dehydration.

In fact, regular coffee drinkers can probably count their usual, moderate coffee intake toward their daily hydration requirements, just the same as that glass of water provided by the barista!

Since the body is able to adequately adjust to routine caffeine consumption in reasonable amounts without becoming dehydrated, regular coffee drinkers may be contributing toward a state of healthy hydration rather than imperiling it.

It turns out that the voice of popular opinion is not always the voice of sound scientific research.

Or, in other words, you can answer the old adage of “a cup of water for every cup of coffee” with the thought that by drinking a cup of coffee you are already taking in that recommended cup of water.

However, espresso contains less water than other varieties of coffee.

Since an espresso is much more highly concentrated than a regularly brewed cup of coffee, the caffeine content of an espresso is not as readily offset by the amount of water it contains.

The confirmed espresso drinker’s body has probably adjusted to this amount of caffeine intake, so a daily espresso most likely doesn’t pose a hydration threat.

Nevertheless, the greater proportional amount of caffeine contained in an espresso may explain why many people feel more comfortable consuming espresso with a glass of water on the side.

Everyone’s body is different.

Some people do have more sensitivity to caffeine than others and thus may justifiably worry about becoming dehydrated.

And whether or not your expresso is a culprit for dehydration, having an extra glass of water is never a bad idea.

Does this apply to mineral water?

Although carbonated drinks with harmful additives are not healthy for anyone, plain mineral water fights dehydration and promotes physical health without negative side effects.

Although carbonated drinks with harmful additives are not healthy for anyone, plain mineral water fights dehydration and promotes physical health without negative side effects.

Espresso Served with Sparkling Water Just Tastes Better

Taste is subjective.

Typically, dogmatic statements about taste are bound to be met with loud cries of disagreement, and things are certainly no different within the realm of coffee connoisseurs.

To many espresso devotees, nothing can improve on the unadulterated taste of a perfectly prepared shot of espresso.

Other coffee lovers, as has been noted, like to “water down” their espressos into Americanos.

As it has been said many times, taste is as varied as the individual.

This difference in taste provides one more potential reason for your receiving a glass of mineral water with your espresso.

To some, espresso is just a little too acidic.

It is slightly sourer than some fans prefer.

Although these people appreciate the sum total of the espresso experience, they would really like to alleviate that sour edge.

Since mineral water contains carbonic acid, it also has a bit of an acidic or tart taste.

Thus, drinking off a glass of mineral water before beginning with the espresso can help to take the sour edge off of the taste of the coffee.

For example, it can have the opposite effect of eating a very sweet bite of syrupy pancake before taking a sip of orange juice.

The sugary taste of the syrup accentuates the tangy flavor of the juice.

Conversely, drinking an acidic glass of mineral water causes the following shot of espresso to taste less sour in contrast.

The mineral water has prepared the taste buds for the flavor of the espresso.

Enjoy Espresso with a Glass of Water

The perfect coffee experience is developed through personal experimentation.

The next time you are served a mineral water along with your espresso, try swishing some of it in your mouth to find out whether you are better able to enjoy the taste of your espresso afterward.

In any event, you will know that you have come to the right place if your barista slides a glass of mineral water across the counter along with your espresso.

Tell us about your experiences.

Better yet, ask the barista to explain exactly why you have been served a glass of water alongside your espresso.

Perhaps you can discover yet another reason to share with us in the comment section.

We’d love to hear it.