Italian Coffee Culture

Although coffee beans are neither grown nor harvested in Italy, their blends are world-renowned. They mainly use Arabica and Robusta blends, but each region has its own master combination of the two. The blend that they use depends on people’s preferences. La Brasilera uses a variety of blends for their coffee. You’d be hard fixed to find an Italian who doesn’t consider a hot espresso or cappuccino an essential part of their morning routine. So, let’s delve in to why Italian coffee tastes so great, regardless of where you purchase it from.

Arabica beans are one of the most popular types of coffee, accounting for 60% of the coffee drunk. They come from the Coffea arabica plant, originating in Ethiopia. Today, they are grown in countries such as India, Brazil and Costa Rica. Arabica coffee blends are less caffeinated but provide a very full flavour. Robusta beans come from the Coffea canephora plant which is from Africa. It is known for being bitter, often used to made instant coffee and espresso blends. European countries have different ways of roasting beans. French coffee beans, for example, are oily and a dark colour. Italian beans tend to be a rich brown colour and have very little oil.

Coffee certainly was not invented in Italy and was only introduced there in the 16th century. However, coffee remains one of Italy’s many specialties. Coffee was first made in Africa and the Middle East, the first coffee house being in Constantinople, modern day Istanbul. Italy’s reliance on the Middle East for trade meant that coffee was quickly introduced there. Its establishment in Italian society provided the opportunity for sober socialising outside the home. Today, each region has its own small roaster that provides coffee for the cafés and restaurants in the area. Southern Italian areas tend to go for darker and smaller espresso, which is reflected in the taste of the coffee there. Large coffee roasters in the north of the country provide coffee on a much larger scale. The Illy headquarters can be found in Trieste, while Lavazza’s is in Turin, both of which sell coffee all over the world. Local coffee blends all differ, so there really isn’t just one kind of Italian coffee, although they never seem to disappoint.

You won’t find yourself missing your venti Starbucks latte after you’ve tried an authentic Italian cappuccino. The enormous cup sizes that are offered in café chains here simply do not exist in Italy. Your average caffé latte or caffé lungo are small enough to be drunk while standing at the bar. This means that Italian towns are not polluted by takeaway cups. An added benefit of smaller, stronger coffee is that you won’t find a hole in your wallet after a visit to the local bar. On average, a coffee there will only cost you between €1-2. There’s no need for trendy, overpriced cafés in Italy, as you’re able to get a great quality cup of coffee, wherever you buy it from.

Italian coffee is considered the best in Europe and the process through which it is made is considered an art form. The vast majority of Italians enjoy coffee both at home and on the go. It is not uncommon to stop in the local bar for a quick coffee and a chat while on the way to run errands. Coffee culture is an important and treasured part of Italian life. Their attitude of quality over quantity is clear in their small and inexpensive coffees. Although they only drink a small amount at a time, they certainly provide a big bang for your buck.
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