It would be hard to think of Italy without coffee. After all it is the national breakfast and the home to coffee drinks that have taken the rest of the world by storm. Without Italy, Starbucks would not exist and without coffee, Italy would grind to a halt.
No, coffee was not invented in Italy but coffee culture as we know it did originate here. Today Italy is a country of coffee aficionados who will not tolerate (or visit) an establishment that has bad coffee. Italians will even skip coffee in a restaurant to have one at a favorite bar, it is just that important.
Most of the world’s coffee today comes from either South America or Indonesia (hence the nickname Java), but coffee originated in the highlands of Ethiopia and did not reach Europe for thousands of years. It was not until the 16th century that the introduction of coffee to Europe took place. Coffee arrived from the Middle East where it had achieved a near cult like following, with the first coffeehouses being established in Istanbul. Once accepted by Islamic law (it was very nearly banned, like alcohol) the beverage followed the spread of Islam across Africa and Eastern Europe. Venice, which relied heavily upon trade with the Muslim east, was first introduced to the invigorating liquid in the 1570’s. However coffee would remain a luxury item at this time and not drunk for refreshment, but as a medicinal drink. However once coffee was transplanted to European colonies in Asia and South America the bean thrived and became accessible to the public.
The 17th century saw the opening of the first European coffeehouse in Venice, which later spawned over two hundred others along its canals.
Coffee spread quickly at this point and other coffeehouses were founded in the major cities of Italy.
Some of these dignified and elegant establishments are still in existence in Venice, Turin and Rome; virtual palaces to the national stimulant.
But in the end it all depends upon the coffee itself and not where you drink it.
Good beans make good coffee, it is that simple. But to make great coffee it takes a master to blend and roast the beans properly. Italian coffees use mainly the Arabica variety of coffee bean, known for its full flavor and low caffeine content. However depending upon the region and particular tastes, the stronger and caffeine rich Robusta beans are blended with Arabica. The blends of the south tend to have more Robusta content in their blends which makes for a stronger espresso.
Unlike French roast coffees, which are dark and very oily, Italian roast coffee is a rich brown color and should have very Grinding of the beans should be done immediately before brewing to ensure the freshest flavor. Grinders that use grinding wheels (like found in Italian bars) as opposed to a grinding blade are preferred since they allow for a more thorough grind. For coffee made for home brewing, the beans are often pre-ground and then vacuum-sealed in small portions to ensure freshness. The grinding level also depends upon what kind of machine is being used to make the coffee. Commercial espresso machines use a very fine grind that creates its own filter when under the high pressure of the brew cycle. In contrast are some home brewing grinds that are fairly course.little or no oil on the beans. Roasting time depends upon the blend as Robusta beans need to be roasted longer than Arabica blends. The coffee roaster is a master craftsman that must treat each batch according to the beans being used, taking great care not to roast too long or too hot.
A darker roast does not always mean a better espresso and so the roaster must keep a careful eye on the beans during the process since they can burn in the blink of an eye. Once perfectly roasted the beans are allowed to air cool, this allows the beans to retain their flavor until they are ground for brewing.
To obtain a tasty ‘espresso’ , creamy and full-bodied , with a well-balanced flavour we make a strict selection of raw materials, using high quality products for our blends.
Through a decennial experience of our tasters, each blend combines selected green coffees of two tropics, four different geographical areas, for an equilibrate mixture of their own typical features .
This will assure a constancy in taste , avoiding any possible consequent perceptible alteration due to the differences from lot to lot and from harvest to harvest.
The entire production process : roasting, blending up to grinding is strictly controlled for creating an excellent coffee.
From a chemical perspective, the caffeine content is 1.2% compared to 2.2% for Robusta, while the taste of Arabica is sweeter and more aromatic than Robusta, the latter being more bitter and woody but giving more body to the espresso.
Roasting is processed by very advanced facilities characterized by automatic checks to have an absolutely homogeneous bean roasting. After an adequate rest, a careful product selection follows to eliminate the imperfect beans which could alter the taste; the process ends with packaging and degustation to check the final result in the cup.