is the most popular beverage in the world. More than 1.4 billion cups of coffee are drunk around
the world every day. There are many ways to make coffee, starting from the Turkish method through
to the "plunger" or caffetiere and the ubiquitous American filter drip, but it is Italian
espresso and cappuccino which have become the most popular with coffee connoisseurs
worldwide. Only the Italians could have perfected the method which extracts so much flavour
and aroma from the coffee bean!
Espresso, the Real Italian Coffee
Espresso coffee is the method that is truly “made in Italy”. It's name means
the coffee is prepared at the moment it is requested “expressly for the client”.
The espresso method produces such a rich concentration of aromas and flavours that
only a few sips are needed. The aroma and flavour of a good cup of espresso lingers for a
The Secret of the Perfect Espresso
Perfect coffee starts with the coffee bean. Arabica is grown at high altitude. It has a low
acidity and boasts a delicate, refined flavour. Robusto is grown in the valleys and is stronger
and much more earthy. Our traditional Italian espresso blend is 80% Arabica and 20%
Robusto - click here to see our coffees.
Once the blend
has been selected it must be roasted very slowly to bring out all the flavour. Roast too
high and you end up with black oily beans like the French use. Roast too low and you end
up with weak coffee. The Italian roasting method is the only one that brings out the true
flavour of espresso. After cooling, the beans are ground very fine.
A good espresso requires 7 grams of finely ground coffee, which is pressed tightly into the
filter holder attached to the brew unit. The water has to be forced through the
coffee by a pump that produces at least 9 atmospheres of pressure and the water temperature
should be 90-92ºC. If the espresso is delivered in 20-25 sec and is
not larger than 30 ml you have been served a real espresso, otherwise… send
Italian aficionados will tell you
that the true test of a superb espresso is when the sugar is able to sit on the surface
of the crema for 30 seconds before sinking!
A Recipe for the Perfect Cappuccino
A traditional 6 oz. cappuccino is made of 1/3 espresso, 1/3
steamed milk and 1/3 frothed milk. Purists consider this recipe complete as is. Powdered
cocoa or cinnamon may be sprinkled on top as a garnish.
To layer the milk and espresso, it is necessary to allow the freshly frothed milk a moment
to rest and thus separate (foam on top and milk on the bottom). Brew the espresso into
a 3 oz. stainless pitcher (ceramic or glass will absorb too much heat of the espresso).
Pour steamed milk into the bottom third of the cup. Pour the espresso slowly into the steamed
milk. Spoon frothed milk on top to fill cup. Done in this order, the espresso should settle
between the milk and the foam.
Always steam the milk before brewing
- Use a stainless steel or metal pitcher to steam the milk
- Espresso is best brewed just before you
are going to add it to your cappuccino, as the richness and crema begin to lose their "zest" if left
for more than a minute or two.
How to STEAM milk like a pro!
It is best to use a stainless steel pitcher as it draws
less heat from the espresso. Fill 1/3 of the steaming pitcher with cold milk. Submerge
the tip of the steam wand about ½ inch
into the milk. Open the steam valve and begin steaming. Do
not move the wand around in circles or up and down! As
the foam rises and the milk’s volume
increases, slowly lower the pitcher. Try to keep the tip submerged about ½ inch
throughout the process. Continue steaming until the milk has doubled in volume. The pitcher
should feel hot all the way around. You may hear the distinctive "growling" of
the steamer as it churns the milk, and notice it changes to a deeper tone when all is
ready, which is in about one and a half to two minutes.
When you remove the pitcher make it a good work practice to run steam through the steam
arm right away. This flushes out milk and prevents future clogging. Then use a damp cotton cloth (not an abrasive
pad) to clean the steam arm.