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Easy Café Romano Recipe – Espresso with a Lemon Twist

Café Romano combines the robust flavor of espresso with a refreshing lemon taste. This harmonious blend is an easy way to excite your daily coffee habit. Drink it with breakfast, a mid-morning snack, or in the afternoon. Whenever you like to have an espresso, you’re sure to enjoy this espresso with a lemon twist.

Truly one of the most unique coffee drinks I’ve ever tasted. Sipping warm espresso from a lemon-scented cup is delightful and refreshing, with a touch of sweetness. It’s a must-try for your taste buds!

Everyday Simple Approach

We are transforming lives with the Everyday Simple Approach, which promises to help you find joy in homemaking with quick, easy, and affordable recipes and tutorials. Let’s see how a Romano coffee stacks up and why you’ll love it.

  • Simple ingredients – espresso shot, lemon, and optional sweetener
  • Quick prep and cooking time – five minutes
  • Amazing flavors – Espresso! Sweet lemon!
  • Customizable – work with what you have on hand or follow the substitution tips below
  • Basic kitchen equipment – you don’t need a big espresso machine; use a Moka pot or Nespresso machine, French press, or drip coffee maker instead
  • Easy-to-follow directions – three simple steps
  • Minimal cleanup

How to Make Café Romano

With a minimum of two ingredients, this espresso with lemon is for everyone.

Contrary to what you might expect, the origins of espresso romano are rooted in the Italian American community of the 1950s after the second world war, not in Rome, Italy.

Let’s take a look at how to make it. 

Cafe Romano ingredients in individual containers on marble background.

Ingredients You Need

  • Espresso – Freshly brewed
  • Lemon – A little lemon juice, the rind, and some optional slices for garnish. Meyer lemons are a first choice, but any lemon will work.
  • Sugar – optional sweetener. The lemon’s acidity cuts the bitterness of the espresso. You might be surprised that the espresso doesn’t need to be sweetened.

Step-By-Step Directions

The process takes just long enough to brew the espresso, juice a lemon and stir in the (optional) sweetener.

Follow these simple directions, and you can’t go wrong!

  1. Start by brewing a single or double shot of espresso.
  2. Rub lemon peel along the rim of an espresso cup. The essential oils will flavor the rim, infusing each sip with a lemon scent.
  3. Add lemon juice and optional sugar to the cup. Pour the espresso over and mix well to combine. Continue until the sugar dissolves. Serve immediately with an extra lemon wedge or slice, garnishing the cup.
Overhead view of dark espresso with lemon, spoon, plate, and napkin.

Expert Tips

  • Use high-quality espresso powder for the best-tasting brew.
  • A single shot of regular espresso is one ounce, and a double shot is two ounces. Choose the quantity you want.
  • Taste and adjust! Give a quick taste after mixing the lemon juice. Need to add more? Want to sweeten? Desiring more than one teaspoon of sugar? Get to know the drink and how you like it best.

Ingredient Substitutions

Even though this is such a simple recipe, you might be missing one of the key ingredients. Review the recommendations here for quick and clever substitutions.

Here are suggested substitutions:

  • Espresso – If you don’t have an espresso machine, substitute it with strongly brewed coffee. A dark roast with a higher-than-normal coffee-to-water ratio will be best. You can brew an espresso-like coffee in a French press or drip maker.
  • Lemon – Use a different citrus fruit instead, anything with citric acid.
  • Sugar – Since this is optional, you can omit it completely or substitute it with your preferred sweetener, like brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Similarly, use stevia or other sugar-free replacement.
Lemon slices on plate with grey napkin, fresh lemon, and espresso in white cup.

Variations

Want to add your own spin? All coffee lovers can make these fun variations to stretch this recipe into more delightful renditions and enjoy a versatile drink with lemon flavors.

Try these café Romano variations:

  • Serve an iced espresso Romano by letting the fresh espresso cool to room temperature, filling a cup with a small handful of ice cubes, and pouring the liquid over the ice.
  • You might substitute with a different citrus fruit because you’re out of lemon or because they all have a distinct flavor to enjoy. Instead of lemon, use tangerine, blood orange, or orange.
  • Café Romano is typically served without milk, but feel free to add a splash of cream if you want.
  • Make a café Romano affogato dessert by pouring hot espresso over a scoop of vanilla or chai ice cream.

How to Store this Recipe

Honestly, the coffee flavor tastes best fresh and therefore, storing and making it ahead of time isn’t recommended. 

However, we often run into unexpected surprises in life. If, for whatever reason, you do need to store the drink and save it for later, simply add it to a clean jar or airtight container and place it in the refrigerator.

Drink the café Romano within two to three days, maximum. The flavor does degrade over time.

You’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to serving café Romano over ice. Since your drink is already cold, add a handful of ice to a glass, and pour the espresso over it. This is such a delicious treat that helps cool off with a nice smooth energy boost.

Furthermore, serving an iced café Romano will also help mask the difference in flavor. Stored cold coffee typically tastes better than reheated coffee.

That said, if you like it at room temperature or hot, it’s a good idea to warm it over medium heat for a minute or two in a small saucepan.

Hot cafe Romano in espresso cup with white saucer, sliced lemon in background.

What to serve with an Espresso Romano

A cup of espresso romano is enjoyable alone or with delicious baked goods like homemade banana bread, chai-spiced cookies, and matcha brownies.

Fresh, seasonal fruit also pairs well with a café Romano. As do savory cheese croissants and egg breakfasts.

More Easy Coffee Recipes To Try

Once you master Romano coffee, try iced coffee too. Take it black, or add a splash of vanilla. Either way, it’s a refreshing choice on a hot afternoon.

You might also like a copycat Starbucks iced Americano. It’s another super easy coffee drink you can make next time at home.

If you make this lemon espresso recipe, please leave a review. I appreciate each 5-star rating and review comment! 

Cafe Romano espresso with lemon garnish and copper stirring spoon.

Espresso Romano Recipe (Espresso with Lemon)

Jessica Haggard
Café Romao combines the robust flavor of espresso with a refreshing lemon taste. This harmonious blend is an easy way to excite your daily coffee habit. Drink it with breakfast, a mid-morning snack, or in the afternoon. Whenever you like to have an espresso, you’re sure to enjoy this espresso with a lemon twist.
5 from 56 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 drink
Calories 22 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Start by brewing a single or double shot of espresso.
  • Rub lemon peel along the rim of the cup. The essential oils will flavor the rim, infusing each sip with a lemon scent.
  • Add lemon juice and optional sugar to the cup. Pour the espresso over and mix well to combine. Continue until the sugar dissolves.
  • Serve immediately with an extra lemon wedge or slice, garnishing the cup.

Notes

  • Use high-quality espresso powder for the best-tasting brew.
  • A single shot of regular espresso is one ounce, and a double shot is two ounces. Choose the quantity you want.
  • Taste and adjust! Give a quick taste after mixing the lemon juice. Need to add more? Want to sweeten? Desiring more than one teaspoon of sugar? Get to know the drink and how you like it best.
  • See post text for a note about brewing espresso in a French press or drip coffee maker
Serve: A cup of espresso romano is enjoyable alone or with delicious baked goods like homemade banana bread, chai-spiced cookies, and matcha brownies.
Store: The coffee flavor tastes best fresh; therefore, storing and making it ahead of time isn’t recommended. However, if needed, keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to drink. Drink chilled over ice or reheat on the stove in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 22kcalCarbohydrates: 6gSodium: 6mgSugar: 4g
Keyword cafe romano, espresso romano, espresso with lemon
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating




Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer

Monday 17th of July 2023

Oh I love this! We have a huge lemon tree and I’m always looking for new ways to use them.

I served this for brunch and it was such a hit!

Jessica Haggard

Monday 17th of July 2023

Thank you for the comment, Lori. Glad we could put your lemons to use!

Hayley

Sunday 16th of July 2023

I have had espresso with orange juice, so I'm so excited to have it with lemon too. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe with us.

Jessica Haggard

Monday 17th of July 2023

Thanks Hayley, I am curious if it will be similar to the orange....let us know ;)

Kristina

Sunday 16th of July 2023

I tried this recipe for espresso with lemon as a hot shot and chilled over ice with a little added sugar. It was great both ways and I will definitely be making it again soon.

Jessica Haggard

Monday 17th of July 2023

Chilled - great idea!

Maddy

Sunday 16th of July 2023

I tried this espresso drink a few days ago as a different way to enjoy my afternoon espresso (usually drank as a plain shot) and it was delightful. It went great with a cookie treat as well. :)

Jessica Haggard

Monday 17th of July 2023

Thanks for the comment, Maddy. Glad you are enjoying the recipes.

Dennis

Sunday 16th of July 2023

I love espresso, and this is exactly how I make it! People don't realize how much the lemon does to enhance the flavor.

Jessica Haggard

Monday 17th of July 2023

Wow Dennis, great to hear. It really does enhance the flavor!

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