Espresso After Dinner – Why Do People Have It & Should You Try It Too?

The great thing about being an adult is that you can drink whatever you want whenever you want. However, there is still a stigma around drinking espresso after dinner. We immediately hear the voice in our head going: Do you want to be up all night? Are you looking to sleep at all?

The interesting thing is that the late-night culture is very popular across Europe. This includes Italy, France, Spain, etc. So, what is the deal? Do these people simply have higher caffeine endurance? Can we too enjoy a good espresso shot in the evenings? Let us discuss this.

Why Do People Have Espresso After Dinner?

A good shot of espresso can help you enjoy the evening and even keep the friends together at the table for a long while. Here is why you should have an espresso after you had dinner:

Post-Meal Drowsiness

We all love to go out on dinner dates with our family and friends. But, once all the plates get cleared, the post-meal drowsiness starts to kick in. This is usually the point at which the attention starts to waver for everyone. A good solution for this situation is a delicious shot of espresso. It provides a nice boost of energy that will keep you in a friendly state for a long while.

It Keeps The Group Together

Restaurant owners do not want you to have one drink and a meal and leave. It is in their interest for you to stay as long as possible. So, what brings people together better than espresso? Once you order espresso you are more likely to order a dessert alongside it.

Enjoying Espresso With Friends

Coffee Tradition

Family-owned businesses and restaurants that pride themselves on regional cuisine often serve espresso after dinner simply because of the tradition. As a result, you get a much more authentic dining experience.

Is It Harmful To Drink Espresso After An Evening Meal?

To be honest, there are both benefits and downsides to drinking espresso late after dinner. Keep in mind that the caffeine in espresso impacts everyone differently.

Benefits You Might Notice

The main benefits you might notice from drinking an espresso after dinner are:

  • Digestion – a cup of brewed espresso can help with digestion after a meal. This is because caffeine can stimulate the colon muscles. While it will not help you with real digestive issues, it can keep the system going.
  • Overeating – a nice shot of espresso can keep you from overeating. This is because the caffeine in espresso reduces the sense of hunger.
  • Weight loss – you won’t lose weight just by drinking espresso, but as it’s mentioned above, espresso decreases hunger so you will eat less and keep your body in a good condition.
  • Health benefits – espresso is rich in antioxidants and has many anti-inflammatory benefits that help to decrease the risk of versatile diseases. It can keep you energized throughout the day and lower the risk of cold, etc.

Espresso Coffee With Pizza

Possible Downsides

Now that we have established why you should drink an espresso shot after dinner, here is why you should not:

  • sleep deprivation – if you are sensitive to caffeine in espresso, drinking it in the evening may not be a great idea. It might keep you awake during the night especially if you need a long time to metabolize it. As a result, you might notice some symptoms related to sleep deprivation such as agitation, etc.
  • nutrient loss – consuming espresso immediately after dinner can lessen your body’s ability to absorb iron so you might lose out on some important nutrients.

How Long Should I Wait To Drink Espresso After Dinner?

To avoid the effect that caffeine can have on iron absorption, you should wait about 1 hour to order an espresso after you are done eating your dinner. That way you will give your body enough time to do its job and you will be able to appreciate the flavor of your espresso brew even better.

How Late Can You Drink Espresso?

Honestly, if you want to have espresso after dinner and you are sensitive to caffeine, you should have dinner the sooner the better. The caffeine in espresso needs about 40 to 60 minutes to reach its peak effects. They start to wear down after about 1 to 2 hours. With that in mind, if you have a higher sensitivity level, you might feel the effects even after 5 to 7 hours.

Finished Dinner And Espresso Shots

However, you can also take some time for the food to digest and finish your glass of wine before you order up a shot of espresso.

Do Italians Drink Espresso After Every Meal?

When it comes to Italians, you can always find them sipping on an espresso, during any part of the day. We would say that this does not depend on when they eat. Espresso is a large part of their culture so it works during any break they have.

What About Other Espresso-Based Beverages?

Is Espresso The Best Brew To Have After A Meal?

Yes, espresso is the best choice. This is because espresso is the simplest brew full of antioxidants with very few calories. Consuming beverages with additional milk and cream can be very heavy on your stomach, especially after you have just had a meal or before you go to bed (keep the milk and cream for the mornings).

Some of the most familiar and loved espresso-based beverages are:

So, can you have them after a good dinner? Well, you can, but if you’re in Italy, you will get some funny looks for sure. In Italian culture, these beverages espresso and milk-based beverages are never consumed in the afternoons. This is because the milk and cream have a very high-fat content. As a result, they hit heavy on your stomach (especially f you have had a nice dinner before).

Can You Have Cappuccino After Dinner

Also, beverages such as Mocha that contain additional chocolate or chocolate syrup are avoided in the afternoons too. This is because they are much more caffeinated (as we explained espresso is not the only thing with caffeine, chocolate and chocolate syrup also have it). A nice Mocha can be a horrible idea for caffeine-sensitive people in the evenings.

If you are looking for a good espresso combination after dinner, opt for an affogato. This is espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You get your espresso and dessert in one.

What About A Decaf Espresso?

Decaf espresso is a great choice for those who are trying to avoid caffeine in the afternoons. Let us be clear, it is not caffeine-free but has a much lower amount of caffeine (up to 90% less). You still get to enjoy all the delicious flavors from your coffee beans but you don’t have to worry about any consequences.

Is It Better To Drink Espresso Or Regular Coffee After A Dinner?

Both brews can be an amazing choice after dinner so you can choose simply based on your preferences and the way you like to drink coffee. Espresso is meant to be taken as a shot. It comes in a 1 oz serving and provides the kick you need.

Regular Black Coffee

Regular coffee, on the other hand, is served in an 8 oz cup. You are supposed to sip on it for a while and enjoy the warmth it provides. While espresso has more caffeine per volume, regular coffee has more per serving so consider that when making your choice.

What Is After-Dinner Coffee Called?

After-dinner coffee is also known as a “Café Noir“. While you won’t find this term so often nowadays, it was often used in the 1800s and the 1900s (especially in the cookbooks). The interesting thing about it is that this brew was supposed to be twice as concentrated as your morning cup. So, what saved the person that drank it from never-ending insomnia was a small demitasse cup.

To Wrap It Up

So, there you have it. Whether you consume espresso as a cultural thing or you enjoy it as an energy boost after dinner, it provides you with many amazing benefits. Be careful if you have a higher sensitivity level to caffeine as espresso is a caffeinated brew and it might keep you awake a bit longer than you would have liked. If this is the case, you always have the option of ordering a decaf version.

As a former cook and a pastry chef, Patricia knows how to recognize fresh ingredients and appreciates their quality above all else. Her ideal day is spent at a local farmer’s market looking for the fruits, vegetables, and herbs she can combine and use to make meals for her loved ones. She is also a big coffee enthusiast and enjoys trying out different coffee brews while traveling.