Winter is great for rich hors d’oeuvres and heavy meals to fight off the chill. But don’t just start the meal strong. Let the last taste be the best.

Brazilian is best

Finish those meals off with the sweet notes of an espresso shot from Brazil. A single-origin Brazilian coffee tastes like no other — full and sweet, with a richer, earthier taste than its neighboring Latin American coffees. A slightly darker roast works best — a Southern Italian style is my favorite!

Short and sweet

A ristretto — meaning “restricted,” as in, you send a restricted amount of water through the grinds (about .75 ounce instead of 1 ounce) — is also called a “short pull.”

You get all the sweet goodness of the crema (which comes out first and is the foam made up of sugars, vegetable oils, and proteins) and no lingering bitterness of the end of the shot (since the longer the coffee is in contact with the heat element in the grouphead, the more bitter it will taste).

Serve it right

If you want to really put some creative flare into this espresso, choose your cup or glass carefully. A shot glass as shown does the job brilliantly. But you can also experiment — modern clear glass, stainless steel and funky opaque all work well.


Pull the shot to about ¾ volume. Serve with a small chunk of dark chocolate and a single hazelnut.

Ristretto by Nikolas Krankl, Taste Coffee House, Newton MA