Review: Espresso Yourself Coffee Shop brings European taste to America

Why this European inspired coffee shop is my new favorite place


Photo Olivia Godinez

Espresso Yourself Coffee Shop owner, Silviu Dumitru, creates his specialty drink, the Biscoffee.

Via Godinez, Opinion Editor

There’s nothing not to like about South Tampa’s hottest coffee spot: Espresso Yourself Coffee Shop.

Nestled in a small lot on S Dale Mabry Highway, Espresso Yourself is a sleek, trendy shop selling a variety of coffee, lemonade, tea and baked goods. The shop owner, Silviu Dumitru, has made the shop COVID-safe, allowing customers to come in and relax or work while they enjoy their food and drink through social distancing. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.

Dumitru moved from Romania to the United States around three years ago. He was inspired to open his cafe by the lack of coffee shops in the Port Tampa area that aren’t commercial chains. Being a local, Dumitru wanted people to get out of the house and enjoy the experience coffee and being in a cafe has to offer, rather than the fast-paced environment of commercial establishments.

With new apartments being built on Westshore, Dumitru knew there would be people moving in the area that would value a trendy and local coffee shop where they could relax and do their work, something that he wanted to cater to.

“When I moved here a year ago, I realized there were few coffee shops in the area. I have an espresso machine at home, but it’s not the same experience,” Dumitru said.

Espresso Yourself shares a wonderful mix of American and European aesthetics, adapting the influence of Dumitru’s home in Europe to fit an American audience. As soon as I stepped into the shop, Dumitru immediately welcomed me and was more than happy to give me recommendations and tell me the story behind each of his own creations.

The first thing I tried on the menu was the Biscoffee, Dumitru’s own creation. Dumitru knew sweet and salty is a popular favorite among American coffee drinkers, so he took a traditional Asian recipe and gave it an American twist by adding whipped cream, salted caramel and a cookie to top it off.

The drink is a nice balance of sweet, salty, and bitter. The flavors flowed together perfectly, neither overpowering the others. It has a healthy balance of a coffee drink tasting like coffee while still having exciting flavors, something many American coffee establishments don’t have.

The next coffee drink I had was the Freddo: Illy cold brew coffee made with the customer’s choice of water or milk. I ordered it with water to get the full taste of the cold brew. It has a strong taste without being overpowering. When I go again, I’d like to have it with milk to subdue the strong coffee flavor.

Naturally, I had to order my go-to drink for every coffee shop: a Chai Latte. Dumitru’s chai is milky and smooth. Though he expressed his confusion for people who ordered Iced Chai Lattes, he would have happily made it for me if I had asked–I decided to get the drink hot instead. The spicey flavors of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom didn’t come through enough for me with this drink, but it was still tasty. The flavors were subtle, but I’d definitely order it again.

One taste of the Mojito Lemonade and I was transported to the Italian seaside, where I sunbathed and listened to the sound of waves lapping against the shore, an organetto in the distance. The drink has a light, tangy taste, with your choice of regular or sparkling water, the latter that Dumitru makes himself. Naturally, I went with the sparkling water.

Espresso Yourself offers a variety of cakes, from Tiramisu to a sweet Mango Custard on a thin layer of fluffy Vanilla Cake topped with mango. The flavors of these desserts are subtle and light to be easily paired with any drink and not too filling. 

The Porchetta Provolone Panini was the best sandwich I’ve ever had. It was warm and comforting, with flavors that complimented each other perfectly. The spinach, porchetta and provolone melted in my mouth.

Dimitru is a friendly local who strives to makes everyone in his shop happy and comfortable. This is a place I’d regularly visit with my friends, and Dimitru is the kind of person to memorize all of our orders and remember to ask how the test went that I was studying for. Everything was reasonably priced with plenty of sales and specials, like getting a croissant or water with your purchase of a large drink before 12 p.m. I will certainly be returning.

Espresso Yourself Coffee Shop is located at 5130 S Dale Mabry Highway #106, Tampa, FL 33611 and is available for delivery through Grubhub or their website. They are open Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.