A demitasse is a small cup used to serve Turkish coffee or espresso. In some languages it is called fincan, fildžan, filxhan or φλιτζάνι (flidzáni). In Spanish, it is called a pocillo. It typically has about 60–90 ml capacity — half the size of a full coffee cup (a tasse à café is about 120 ml). Typically they are made of white pottery or porcelain and accompanied by matching saucers, but some coffeehouses and companies from chinaalso produce brightly decorated varieties.
Demitasse is a French word meaning ‘half cup’. While generally referred to as simply ‘espresso cups’ in the English speaking world, demitasse is the technical name for the small cups in which espresso is generally served.
Espresso is served in a demitasse as opposed to a regular coffee cup for two main reasons. Firstly, the smaller cup size decreases the amount of coffee that is in contact with the air. This stops the coffee from oxidising and going cold as quickly. A demitasse is typically narrower at the bottom and gets wider towards the rim of the cup. This design is optimal for preserving the crema of the espresso for as long as possible, which is a crucial element in good espresso.