Brewhaha: The Humble Espresso
Espresso is definitely one of the most popular ways to drink coffee in Italy. This small, concentrated form of coffee, served like a shot, is quick and hassle-free to drink. The preparation of the coffee beans dedicated to espresso differs from those dedicated to other coffees because of how they are treated. They are ground to a finer consistency and packed tightly before having water forced through using an espresso machine or Moka pot. The taste is considerably more bitter, but they have a creamier consistency than other coffees. It serves as the base for many other caffeinated beverages, such as cappuccinos (cappuccini, if you want to be true Italians) and lattes.
There are a number of variations of the espresso. Many Italians drink it in its simplest form, but if you’d like to vary how you take your espresso there are several ways you can do so:
If you order a “caffè” in an Italian bar, you would typically receive a 1oz shot of espresso in a small cup.
A “Caffè Romano” is simply a single shot of espresso with a slice of lemon.
If you were to order a “doppio,” as you’d guess from the name, you would receive a double shot of espresso, amounting to 2oz of coffee.
Different forms of espresso can be made by the treatment of the beans. To make a “Caffè Ristretto” the beans are ground finer than those used for an espresso. This results in a short and more concentrated shot of coffee.
Alternatively, when the beans are ground coarser and more water is passed through them, the resulting coffee is weaker. This slightly larger coffee is known as a “Caffè Lungo.”
There are so many options to create interesting espresso that can be enjoyed at home or the local Italian bar!
One of the most commonly drunk coffees in Ireland and the UK is the Americano, which I’m sure you’ve tried at one time or another. In Italy, it is known as a “Caffè Americano.” It is said that the name came from American soldiers serving in the Second World War, who were stationed in Italy. They apparently found the espresso too bitter and cappuccinos too dense. They yearned for their diner-style coffee from the States and found it by topping off espresso with hot water. An Americano is probably one of the easiest coffees to make. It is achieved by adding boiling water to a single or double shot of espresso. It’s quite uncommon to ask for this kind of coffee in Italy, so make sure to specify that you want it in a large cup. This type of coffee is perfect for those that don’t like the fuss of making a cappuccino but still love a big mug of coffee in the morning.
A simple espresso is the most commonly drunk coffee in Italy, it is even the default when asking for a “caffè” at a bar. It’s quick to both make and consume. A small quantity of coffee is important there because it is often far too hot to drink a mug of coffee. It can be enjoyed at the beach or pool, without the risk of overheating. The varieties of beverages that can be made with espresso are well worth trying out, as you can add a bit of diversity to your morning coffee in a very minimal way.
We hope that this blog post will inspire you to try out all of the interesting ways you can improve your coffee drinking experience!
Our la Brasilera coffees are the perfect place to start: https://quaffolla.com/collections/la-brasilera-italian-coffee