Simple Definition of espresso
: strong coffee that is made by forcing steam through finely ground roasted coffee beans
Full Definition of espressoplural
1 : coffee brewed by forcing steam or hot water through finely ground darkly roasted coffee beans
2 : a cup of espresso
Did You Know?
Espresso is short for "caffè espresso," which is Italian for pressed-out coffee; the name quite accurately describes the process of making the beverage. The word first appeared in print in English in 1945 as part of the phrase "caffè espresso," and soon it was flying solo. You may be tempted to use "expresso" instead of "espresso." If so, you're not alone-by 1955 this variant was found in print too. One common misconception is that caffè espresso means "fast coffee," which makes "expresso" more logical to English-speakers (by analogy with "express"). It's also possible that "expresso" came about simply by transforming "espresso" to a word that looked more familiar. "Espresso" remains by far the more popular variant, although "expresso" continues to turn up.
Origin and Etymology of espresso
Italian (caffè) espresso, probably literally, coffee made on the spot at the customer's request
First Known Use: 1945
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up espresso? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).