Coffee And The Italian Connection


Why is it that more than half of the flavored coffee drinks in a coffee shop are Italian? What makes Italy the source of all these



For the uninitiated, Italy is where the coffee culture took roots ever since it was introduced in Europe way back in the 1600's. It never left. Today, it is likely that one notices right away a crowded espresso bar at any Italian airport, full of people sipping espresso out of very small porcelain cups.

In every village, town or city in Italy, one instantly finds a large amount of local coffee bars. They are usually filled with people chatting about local politics and some gossip or about last night's football game. It could be that the Italians took to this beverage as culture.

With a friend or a co-worker along, an Italian has about two to three espresso runs to his favorite coffee bar during the day. Usually, it is for a quick pick-me-up just to perk him up for the moment.

It is hard to imagine Italy without


.  And Italy is home to all of today's coffee drinks the world is crazy about. Coffee was not invented in Italy, but coffee culture started here. Venice was the first city where the first coffee shop, or caf‚, was established.

In pursuit of the perfect coffee, an Italian was responsible for inventing the espresso machine that would revolutionize the world of coffee drinking. He found out that by forcing hot water through well-packed, finely ground coffee at high pressure, one could extract the most long-lasting flavor from the beans.

From 1901 (when it was invented) onwards, there have been numerous technical innovations done with the machine. The result was a dark, aromatic liquid covered by a thick, creamy, reddish-brown foam called crŠme.

From then on, caf‚ generally refers to the classic black espresso, served hot in a demitasse cup. As of last count, there are around 111 types of espresso-based drinks in Italy.
Like everything else in Italy, caf‚ varies in every region.

However, everybody agrees that cappuccino is a breakfast drink.

How exactly is cappuccino made?

It is simply a blend of espresso coffee with milk or frothy cream added topped with chocolate powder. The proportions is 1/3 espresso and 2/3 froth made from fresh milk heated by steam.

How exactly is espresso made?

The perfect espresso is made with seven grams of fresh, finely ground


. Two tablespoons of water heated to about 194 degrees Fahrenheit is driven through the coffee for about 25 to 30 seconds at nine atmospheres of pressure.

Italian coffees use blended beans in their espressos. Arabica, known for its full flavor and low caffeine content is the main choice. However, Robusta beans are sometimes blended with Arabica. Blends from southern Italy tend to have more Robusta which makes for a stronger espresso.

In roasting, Italian coffee has a rich brown color and very little or no oil. The time of roasting is dependant upon the blend since Robusta beans need to be roasted a little bit longer than Arabica blends. The coffee roaster makes sure that a roast should not be too long or too hot.

Most Italians finish off their coffee quickly at the bar before heading off to work. Ordering an espresso in Italy, one simply asks for a cafe‚ and drinks it in two or three sips at most. Espresso is not made to be sipped casually.

Coffee is served after a meal, but not served by itself. Any cappuccino ordered after 11:00 in the morning is politely ignored, because coffee after breakfast should not have milk in it. Aside from simple espresso and cappuccino, some varieties of Italian coffee drinks are Doppio, Ristretto, Americano, Macchiato, Corretto, and several variations of lattes and cappuccinos.

Basically, even though the names may be hard to pronounce and each variety is an adventure to the palate, taste is what makes Italian coffee drinks stand out and hold their place in people's minds and taste buds.
Lets Share This!