All coffee lovers and, in fact, most people that have entered a coffee shop, a bar or a restaurant, know what an espresso is. But what is an "expresso"? Some might get confused by this word, knowing that it doesn't appear in any menu, dictionary, publication, and knowing it's definitely a misspelling of "espresso", while others might swear that it's just the same word, with a slight spelling variation generally accepted.
What's the truth then, are they both correct? They do sound almost identical, that's right, and this is also the main reason why some think it's more appropriate to spell it with an "x" rather than an "s". But the word is spelled "espresso" and no other form is accepted, anywhere, not even as an exception. "Expresso" is a misspelling for sure.
Expresso vs. Espresso
"Espresso" is the only word referring to black, strong coffee. It originates from Italy, the country that also specializes in preparing this type of coffee, and it is spelled exactly in this form, in any language.
"Expresso" is, first of all, a misspelling of "espresso", caused by people hearing it wrongly or thinking it means the same thing. But the word does not exist. "Express" exists, yes, but this form has no relation to "espresso" and it will also never appear as "expresso". "Express" is an English verb defining the action of explaining, saying or showing one's feelings and thoughts through words or actions. It can also function as a noun and as an adjective, referring to a train/service or machine that works considerably faster than usual, but again, that's a different word and it has absolutely no relation to "expresso" or "espresso".
When do we use "expresso"?
We recommend you never enter a place asking for an "expresso". People will probably understand what you refer to, but keep in mind it's not correct. The word doesn't exist, neither in the English language, nor in others. It's a simple misspelling caused by its similarity to "espresso" and by people hearing it wrong.
When do we use "espresso"?
"Espresso" is the original Italian word that defines the well-known strong, black traditional coffee served today in any cafe or restaurant. This is the only spelling you have to remember and use correctly.
Example: Please add some milk to this espresso, it's too bitter for my taste. - "espresso" is the black, strong Italian coffee.
It's better not to ask for an "expresso", because this word is a misspelling. So both as a conclusion and as a solution, simply delete it from your vocabulary so you never doubt it again. "Espresso" is the correct form you have to keep and use.