While having coffee at a fancy café earlier, we noticed that the espresso aswell as the cappuccino had large amounts of coffee grounds still sitting at the floor of the cup.

While being annoyed by this (given that the coffee was rather expensive), I still wasn't quite sure if this was intentional or not. For example, i reckon this could be expected when having a turkish coffee.

Question: Is there a good reason to leave coffee grounds in an espresso on purpose, or is it just sloppy?

  • Sloppy barrista...
    – Max
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


Two possibilities:

  1. It's just sloppy. They're dispensing directly from the espresso machine into the cup, and as a result the finest particles that should be poured off, with proper technique, ended up in the cup. Given that the main reason to dispense directly in the cup is that they're using a super-automatic (push-button) machine, I'd be pretty unhappy with that if I'd paid a lot for it.
  2. They're deliberately leaving the fine particles in the pour to "prove" that it's real espresso and not a Nespresso capsule. This seems misguided to me, but I can imagine someone doing it.
  • 3
    Nespresso capsules sometimes rupture and leave grounds in the cup, in fact the question made me wonder if it was a sign the place was using a capsule system.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 6:29
  • 3
    And a classic espresso machine pours espresso straight into the prewarmed cup.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 8:58
  • Stephie: not usually at restaurants or coffee bars. There, you'll see them dispensing into a small metal pitcher and then pouring from that into the cup, partly to prevent having any "sludge" at the bottom (and partly so that they can do various pouring things to make it look nice). Sure, I'll pump directly into a cup at home, which is why I know that you can get a slick of coffee grounds that way.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 23:49

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