Special equipment: an electric mixer with paddle attachment
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and molasses and mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, espresso, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, baking soda, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. (The dough will be quite soft.)
Roll the dough into tight 1-inch round logs, wrap snugly in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and chill until firm (see Cook's Note*).
Unwrap the dough and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Pour some sugar into a shallow dish. Press the top of each cookie into the sugar and then place cookies sugar side up on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not over bake; the cookies will become "snappy" once they have cooled completely. Transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes.
At this point, the dough can be stored in the freezer. From the freezer, let the dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing.