What is a Doppio Espresso?

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What is a doppio?

A doppio espresso (pronounced dow·pee·ow) is more than just an Italian word—it’s an invitation to experience a more concentrated, richer form of espresso. Originating from the Italian word for “double,” a doppio serves up two shots of espresso and has become the standard serving size for coffee aficionados around the world.

Whether you prefer your doppio caffeinated or decaffeinated, understanding its nuances can make your coffee experience truly transformative.

Key Takeaways

  • “Doppio” is an Italian term that translates to a double shot of espresso.
  • A doppio is typically considered the standard serving size for espresso.
  • It can be enjoyed in its caffeinated or decaffeinated form.
  • Doppio espressos are generally served without milk, sugar, or flavoring.

Doppio Espresso
A doppio, aka double espresso

Understanding Doppio Espresso

In the realm of coffee, a doppio is two espresso shots most commonly served in a demitasse cup. This small, specialized cup enhances the concentrated flavors and aromas that characterize a doppio.

You’ll often find the doppio accompanied by a small spoon, a sugar cube, and a shot glass filled with soda water. This soda water isn’t for mixing but serves a practical purpose—it’s meant to clean your palate and refresh your mouth, freeing it from any lingering coffee breath.


Unlike some other coffee beverages that include milk, sugar, or flavored syrups, a doppio is an unadulterated coffee experience. It contains equal parts of finely ground coffee and hot water, prepared under high pressure to extract the full range of flavors from the coffee grounds.

In American coffee shops, it’s quite common for milk-based espresso drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, to include two shots of espresso as their baseline. However, in Italy—the birthplace of espresso—it’s more traditional for people to drink a single shot of espresso, known as a “solo,” without any additional flavorings.

Espresso vs. Doppio

So, how does a doppio differ from a regular espresso? Technically, a double espresso and a doppio are identical in composition; both contain two shots of espresso.

The term “doppio” is mainly used as a more authentic, Italian way of requesting a double espresso. Whether you’re in America, Australia, or any other English-speaking country, asking for a “doppio” will make your intentions clear: you’re after a double shot of liquid gold.

Taste & Flavor

The Four Pillars of Espresso Taste

  1. Aroma: As you bring the cup closer, the first sensory delight you’ll encounter is the aroma. This fragrance can range from floral to smoky, depending on the roast and origin of the beans.
  2. Body: The body, or texture, is how the espresso feels on your tongue. A rich body feels thick and substantial, filling your mouth with its creamy texture.
  3. Flavor: Flavor is perhaps the most complex component. Factors like roast profile, grind size, and bean origin contribute to an espresso’s flavor profile, which can range from sweet and fruity to dark and nutty.
  4. Finish: The finish, or aftertaste, is what lingers after you’ve taken a sip. A good finish can be long-lasting and pleasant, completing the overall espresso experience.


Doppio Con Panna

The most popular variation of the doppio is known as the doppio con panna. Translated, this means “double espresso topped with whipped cream.” It adds a dash of sweetness and a creamy texture, making it a dessert-like treat for many.

Solo Con Panna

Similarly, a solo con panna offers a single shot of espresso topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

A Brief History of the Doppio

Espresso, and by extension the doppio, has roots that stretch back to 1884. Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy, patented the first steam-powered coffee beverage maker. While the French and the English also had their versions of coffee machines, none allowed the operator to control the water and steam flow through the coffee grounds with the precision of Moriondo’s design.

Years later, this design was refined, paving the way for mass-produced espresso machines in Parini, Milan, in 1903.

Comparison Table

TypeNo. of ShotsOuncesCaffeine (mg)
Doppio con panna21.564


  1. Aroma, Body, Flavor, Finish: A Beginner’s Guide to Tasting Espresso
  2. Angelo Moriondo: The Unsung Hero of Espresso

Whether you’re a seasoned coffee aficionado or new to the world of espresso, understanding the doppio can deepen your appreciation for this intense, flavorful beverage. Now armed with this comprehensive guide, you’re ready to confidently order a doppio and fully savor each sip.

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.