Since the first beans arrived in Venice in the sixteenth century, Italy has created a whole coffee culture that reflects the passion with which Italians live their favorite drink. Italy is the cradle of espresso , the only one considered by the greatest experts as the best in the world. What is special about how an authentic Italian coffee is recognized?
Coffee in Italy, a way of life
Although in recent years some eye-catching coffee preparations have become fashionable following the trends of the moment, Italy remains true to its own coffee culture. For Italians coffee is part of their own lifestyle , learning that passion from the family and continuing its legacy generation after generation, faithful to tradition and ignoring fashions.
The Italians understood the nature of coffee beans and developed the best technique to extract all their potential to prepare the perfect cup. From the primitive moka coffee maker to the first steam espresso machines, Italian technology has been at the forefront of design to always offer its unmistakable coffee.
The appearance of superautomatic coffee makers revolutionized the way of preparing and drinking coffee in Italy, where any small local takes maximum care of the preparation. An Italian has his trusted bar or café, where they pamper every step to always guarantee the perfect espresso or cappuccino.
In Italy it is not uncommon to go out for a cup several times a day in a process that is a ritual. The coffee is ordered at the bar, it is paid before you receive it and you drink a little water beforehand to cleanse the palate. The preparations with milk are reserved for breakfast, along the day is preferred il vero espresso , with the temperature, body and creaminess, simply, perfect.
The role of each ingredient to achieve an authentic espresso
The term “espresso” refers to drinking fresh coffee at the moment , the true Italian way of tasting it. In fact, an Italian simply asks for a caffe, per favore , and it is understood that what he is looking for is an espresso as the canons command. What are the ingredients that guarantee its authenticity?
The first thing is to have first quality ingredients. Italy is one of the countries with the most coffee imports in the world, and each professional knows how to choose the origins that most interest him for their organoleptic qualities. You can also choose between different types of Arabica coffee , robust or mixed .
Another point to keep in mind is that when the coffee is ground, it begins to lose properties, it oxidizes and loses its aroma; is the reason that baristas only work with their own grinders or super-automatic coffee makers that grind the coffee instantly , always at the time of each preparation.
Even this step is controlled to the maximum, because the thickness of the ground will have different effects on the drink. A too fine grind could give a coffee too strong, short and very bitter, but if it is very thick it could lose intensity causing an espresso with little body and little flavor. Each teacher knows how to calibrate the grind with millimeter perfection.
With the right coffee, fresh, freshly roasted and freshly ground, you just have to adjust the coffee maker correctly. And, of course, only premium mineral water is used, with no odor and no taste that masks the coffee. At home, the best solution is the superautomatic coffee machines that grind the coffee beans instantly , always at the time of each preparation. The De’Longhi superautomatic coffee machine’s grinder comes with 13 different milling grades to guarantee the best coffee aroma. As a general rule, a correct position of the grinder would be between 3 and 5.
Italians pamper every component in coffee making and also take care of their coffee machines daily , inside and out. The entire process is completed by preparing the expected amount of coffee volume -not very short or very long-, in suitable cups, and serving it, always, freshly made.
How to recognize an authentic Italian coffee
Italy’s coffee is so famous that it has spread throughout the world as the model to follow, emulating even the language itself with recipes that “sound” Italian. But replicating Italian art is not easy; A good espresso can be tasted with all the senses , and it is easy to recognize the authentic of the bad imitations.
Like any drink or dish, coffee first enters us by sight. The espresso can be presented in a porcelain cup or in a glass cup, but it will always be short, around 40 ml. Its first great feature is seen on the surface: a good espresso is covered with a layer of walnut or hazelnut cream , with reddish or slightly brown tones.
The cream already tells us with what grains the coffee has been prepared. If the color is reminiscent of the nutshell, with tendencies to a dark red tone with presence of brown lines and the plot is smooth and homogeneous, this is an Arabica. The robust ones usually have a cream more brown, with gray shades and light bubbles.
In addition, the perfect espresso cream will have a thickness of about 3-4 mm, with thick velvety texture . A coffee of beige and fine cream, with many irregular bubbles or spots, indicates a short extraction; if there is no cream or it is very thin and dark, with a large central black hole, the extraction has been too long and the coffee will be bitter.
More clues to identify a good cream ? When sprinkling a teaspoon of sugar on top, without stirring, it will hold a few seconds on the cream before sinking little by little. If it disappears instantly, bad signal.
After tasting the cream we get the first sensations on the palate, but before the taste we have to pay attention to the body. The body of the coffee refers to the emulsion of oils and other insoluble substances of the extracts, which are those that give a certain viscosity to the drink.
The body is in balance with the cream, aroma and flavor of the coffee, and should be full, dense and full , leaving a “tactile” feeling in the mouth. If it looks watered down or is very light, we are not facing a real espresso.
Before appreciating the flavor in its fullness we get the olfactory notes , the aroma of coffee. It can vary according to the origin of the grains, the type of roasting and the ground, including the extraction and temperature. Each cup emanates volatile substances that reach the brain through the olfactory sense, identifying a multitude of different notes, positive or negative.
Thus, depending on the quality and the preparation in the aroma of an espresso we can perceive characteristics of the origin (floral, fruity, herbal …) and of the own elaboration. The base of caramel or cereals should be identifiable, which gives way to sweeter aromas of cocoa, bread, butter or vanilla, or more earthy tones, wood or spices.
And finally, the taste of coffee is finally perceived by the taste, combining the three basic sensations that we identify through the taste buds: bitterness, acidity and sweetness . Coffee, by its nature, is bitter, but never sour, and the correct acidity leaves a pleasant sensation of freshness in the mouth, like a slight tingling.
A good espresso is also naturally sweet and does not need sugar or milk to enjoy it. Only the perfect Italian espresso achieves the exact balance of all flavors and aromas, creating a unique sensory experience that in Italy is enjoyed in one gulp.
Super-automatic coffee makers to enjoy the best Italian coffee at home
It is said that every Italian has a second home in the neighborhood cafeteria and considers his barista as part of the family. They blindly trust in their capacity because there they pamper every detail with precision. Only by controlling the whole process can you get good coffee, something that we can easily get at home with a super-automatic coffee machine.
Following the most advanced Italian design, De’Longhi superautomatic coffee machines bring to our home the professional barista tradition with state-of-the-art coffee machines. From the grinding of the grains to the volume of milk or temperature, these coffee makers allow you to customize each preparation to the maximum to adjust all the details and achieve the perfect beverage.
With a coffee machine like the De’Longhi PrimaDonna S Evo we just have to press a button to enjoy one of the 14 automatic recipes for coffee and coffee with milk, to taste an authentic espresso or a cappuccino thanks to the LatteCrema system, which guarantees a foam dense and tasty, always perfect.
Italian coffee is the best in the world but you do not have to travel to Rome or Milan to taste it. Because a true sybarite wants to control all aspects of his cup, from the origin of the grains to the temperature or the intensity of the aroma, the superautomatic coffee makers make it easy for everyone to enjoy the perfect Italian coffee.