In Italy it’s now a classic: you go into a bar, order an espresso and the bartender next to the cup also serves you a glass of water.
This gesture has become almost natural and, in many places, it is automatic for the barista to accompany the coffee with water, without even being asked.
At that point, one of the questions that arise spontaneously is: do I drink water or coffee first?
Some people wait a few seconds to understand how others are behaving. They look around embarrassed, looking for the right input, then start drinking.
In fact, the correct answer never comes when seated at the counter. It often happens that the person next to you drinks the water before the coffee while the one a meter away does the exact opposite.
If in front of the glass and the cup the doubt about which drink to consume first assails you too, you are in the right place!
In this article, we will explain to you what is the link between water and coffee and, above all, when drinking water. Know, however, that this is not a trivial question. There are very specific bon ton rules on the right way to taste coffee.
Indeed, alongside the evolution of the most beloved drink in the world, real coffee etiquette has also been born, full of information on how to serve coffee correctly.
Water, still or sparkling, at room temperature or iced, is one of the elements needed to enhance its taste and allow you to grasp its organoleptic characteristics. Its function is very precise and changes depending on when it is consumed.
Let’s discover together the secrets of drinking coffee like a pro. You will see that you too will begin to appreciate water along with coffee and you will be the first who, upon entering a bar, will say: “an espresso and a glass of water!”.
What does the etiquette say
Serving water with coffee is not a habit of the most chic bars or trendy cafes.
Not at all!
The glass of water next to the cup of coffee is a gesture that makes you understand that you have come across a place that knows the bon ton rules of coffee well.
To serve coffee with elegance, respecting one of the most important symbols of Italian tradition, water should never be missing.
The water has a very important function: it allows you to better taste the coffee and clearly distinguish the characteristics of the blend you are drinking.
But let’s go back to our question: a glass of water before or after coffee?
According to the indications of the coffee etiquette, water should be consumed before drinking coffee.
Do you know why?
Water is used to cleanse the palate and fully enjoy the aromatic properties of espresso.
Furthermore, when drunk after coffee, the water performs the opposite task: it cleans the mouth from the bad taste left by a poor quality coffee or with some errors in preparation.
According to the most experienced tasters, those who drink water after coffee do not appreciate this drink. Coffee lovers prefer that the flavor of coffee remains on the taste buds for a long time.
You should drink the coffee water first
Coffee etiquette does everything to make the espresso ritual even more enjoyable. And water is one of the fundamental elements to enhance the taste of coffee.
This tradition has its origins in the ancient Italian coffee roasters, in which water was served to customers before they tasted the coffee.
The roasters, in fact, wanted customers to appreciate all the aromatic nuances of coffee without having the taste of other foods previously eaten. The water, therefore, was used precisely to cleanse the mouth and enjoy all the aroma of coffee.
A glass of water helps to recognize the chosen blend and the quality of the powder used. By paying attention, therefore, you will be able to understand if the product you are drinking is a high-quality coffee, if the extraction procedure has been carried out correctly, and if the coffee machine is professional or not.
Sipping the water before coffee, therefore, prepares the palate to enjoy the coffee at its best. However, if you come across a bitter, burnt, or badly stored coffee, you could also opt for water after coffee. In this way, you would eliminate the bad taste from the palate, without breaking the rules.
Still or sparkling: what is the most suitable water with coffee?
In this case, the coffee etiquette is not expressed. As for the combination of mineral or natural water with coffee, everyone can follow their tastes.
If you prefer a mild, not annoying flavor, you can opt for plain water.
On the contrary, if you are a fan of bubbles, choose sparkling water without problems.
Consider that the latter can irritate sensitive palates while it is very suitable for cleaning the palate after a large meal and for preparing the taste buds to savor coffee.
In any case, the important thing is that the water is consumed first so that traces of the coffee remain in the mouth and the taste crosses the senses as long as possible.
The water temperature does not affect the coffee taste
Some prefer water at room temperature and others are a fan of cold water. Even in this situation, there are no established bon ton rules.
The water temperature does not affect the coffee taste. So you can choose peacefully according to your preferences.
Just keep in mind that with the water too cold, you will have to wait a few seconds longer to taste your freshly made espresso. The hot/cold detachment could be annoying.
However, whether you prefer cold water or at room temperature, remember to inform the bartender in advance, so that he can serve you according to your tastes.
The habit of serving a glass of water with coffee is increasingly common in the bars of our country. This custom was born in the ancient Italian roasters, where roasters offered water to those who went to visit them to better prepare the palate for the coffee taste.
Then: “A coffee and a glass of water please!”. From today you too can order at the bar in this way without feeling flustered. Indeed, you can show off your culture on the bon ton of coffee and appreciate more all the aromatic characteristics of your espresso.
Now that you are a tasting expert, find out how a lever machine works. Gradually you will understand that enjoying coffee at its best is an art made up of many components.
Below you will find our models of lever coffee machines.