An Espresso served with Lemon Peel is known as a ‘Romano’ which most instantly assume has links with Rome although there is no evidence to back this claim up.
Others will tell you that during the War Italian Baristas cleaned the rim of the Espresso cups with lemon because it’s a natural sanitizer and there were water shortages during the war, but there’s never been a shortage of lemons in Italy.
Or the Americans first used the lemon to rub on their lips to sweeten the bitter taste of poorly made Espresso. Lemon is quite common in New York Coffee Shops.
A good Barista will tell you that there’s no need for lemon to sweeten the lips before an adequately pulled shot of Espresso and a confidant Barista won’t need to serve lemon ‘just in case.’
Lemons are synonymous with Italy so are likely served as a garnish for decoration purposes.
What to do if your Espresso is served with Lemon Peel?
Admire the splash of colour that the lemon peel offers
And if you have been unlucky enough to be served a mediocre tasting cup of Espresso?
Feel free to squeeze the lemon peel into your cup or rub it around the rim to find out if it makes bad tasting Espresso taste better.