Coltura di Caffé Italiano
[Culture of Italian Coffee]
As most may know, Italy is the birthplace of espresso and cappuccino. Whatever the place or whatever the time, there is a wonderful smell of "caffé". It is the national drink over which business is conducted, contracts are signed, meetings are held and friendships are formed or reconciled.
In Italy, espresso is also called caffé [coffee in English] - literal translation for espresso is express. In a perfect espresso, one finds all the special characteristics that distinguish it from other preparations: a rich aroma, a beautiful crema, a full body, a harmonious flavor, and a long, persistence on the palate. Espresso is as much an art as music and the language of music is also Italian.
The Italian word cappuccino translates to little hood. The espresso- based drink received this moniker because of its resemblance to the brown attire and hoods worn by the Capuchin (or Cappuccini in Italian) order of Franciscan monks.
The Italian beverage became popular in the 1950's with the advent of the modern espresso machine with a steam wand. It is prepared in a 6oz ceramic cup with a single shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a touch of froth. In Italy, cappuccino is consumed in the morning as part of a light breakfast. It would generally be a faux pas to order it any other time of the day.
There is no other place on earth where coffee is such a discussion opener or at the heart of every single event.
To offer someone a cup of coffee is as important a gesture as that of “breaking bread” and it is the most common act of generosity and hospitality of Italians. Many good things come from having a coffee together: a deal, an exchange or even love. La Dotta Coffee Importers are bringing this deep-rooted and worldly tradition to you-no passport required!
Italian Coffee Bars
The culture of Italian coffee and its bars is known the world over. A proof is the great number of coffee shops resembling Italian bars, which have been opened in cities all over the world in recent years.
In Italy, the coffee bar is a cultural and social gathering point where patrons enjoy their daily espresso and cappuccino. Commonly, Italians stop at coffee bars many times during the average day for their espresso. Most coffee bars also serve alcohol, aperitifs, panini, chocolates, biscotti, and gelato!
Espresso is the drink of choice for the vast majority of Italians and is served primarily at a walk-up bar. Here, a barista tightly presses 7g of finely ground coffee beans into the steel filter of an espresso machine group handle. The espresso machine forces highly pressurized, very hot water through ground coffee to produce a pure concentrated essence of coffee. The ideal espresso is only 3/4oz in volume and is served in a small ceramic demi-tasse. It is usually consumed quickly and the patron is on his or her way. Most Italians return to their favorite coffee bars to enjoy espresso numerous times every day.
Fact vs. Fiction
There is a widely misunderstood belief i that Italian espresso is made with dark roasted coffee beans. This is certainly not the case in Italy. Northern Italians generally prefer medium roasted blends with high percentage of Arabica, Central Italy leans toward a medium blend with some Rocusta in the blend, while Southern Italians tend to favor slightly darker roasts with more Robuta. All Mokarabia blends are medium roasts, with the southern blends leaning toward the the darker end of medium. This brings out the best flavor elements of the coffee blends. Italians do not burn their coffee.
Similar to a French “café au lait,” caffelatte literally means coffee [espresso] and milk. Though it contains more milk than a cappuccino, the Italian caffelatte at a 1:1 ration contains far less milk than what one would find in an American coffee bar. The typical American version is 3 parts milk to 1 part espresso. If one is in an Italian coffee bar and simply orders a "latte", they will promptly be served with a class of cold milk
This beverage is prepared by adding hot hater to a regular shot of espresso, giving it a different taste than that of filter/drip coffee. Some say the origin dates back to WWII, when American servicemen found espresso too strong and ordered it diluted with hot water.