I’ve read several explanations of the origin of this word: the coffee is made expressly for you upon your order, or the steam is expressed through the grounds, or (as most people suppose—and certainly wrongly) the coffee is made at express speed. One thing is certain: the word is “espresso,” not “expresso.”

While you’re at an American espresso stand, you might muse on the fact that both “biscotti” and “panini” are plural forms, but you’re likely to baffle the barista if you ask in correct Italian for a biscotto or a panino.

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