Coffee was not invented by the Italians but the love for coffee was.
Coffee drinking appears to have started in southern Arabia and spread to Europe and to the world via Italy; not only did they introduce the world to this invigorating drink, but moreover, they introduced “coffee culture”.
The Italians made Italian coffee fancy; they made coffee drinking an event. It is where coffee became a drink for socializing, much like cocktails: “let’s have coffee”, “let’s discuss this over coffee”, are invites that started out in Italy. Some of the most obvious Italian attributes of coffee are the variants and its names: espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte, machiatto, caffe normale etc. The globalization of the Italian coffee and coffee culture is evident just by visiting Starbucks (Starbucks is an Italian brand); its contribution to globalization can be likened to that of McDonald’s.
For more information on how to make perfect cup of Italian Coffee visit our Jura Capresso coffe maker review page.
Coffee was once a luxury item when it was first introduced in Europe. Venice got its first taste of coffee in 1570s through trade relations with the Muslim East. Coffee then was not a beverage that they could enjoy whenever they want (like we do now), but as a medicinal drink (click here for health benefits of coffee).
Coffee bean production boomed when the drink was introduced to Europe and the Europeans transplanted the precious beans to their colonies in Asia where the crop thrived and became available to the public. Today, most of the world’s coffees come from either South America or Indonesia (hence the name “Java” as it is the old name of Indonesia).
It was in Venice that the first coffeehouses opened, and their popularity spread like bushfire. From one coffee house, it initiated 200 others to open their own along Venice’s canals. It was from this point that it spread all across the major cities of Italy. Italian coffee was born, and today, we need not go to Italy (although it would be nice) to enjoy these delicious coffee blends. Like almost everything else in Italy, coffee has become a sort of art form surrounded by customs and traditions. There are certain coffees best enjoyed for breakfast like a cappuccino and brioche; or coffees that are most commonly enjoyed in the middle of the day like granita di caffè con panna. There are so many variants of Italian Coffee, and many of them are for a specific time of day, occasion or mood. Its popularity in Italy is such that there is a standard Italian greeting: Prendiamo un caffè? Which means, “Fancy a coffee?”
It all starts from the coffee beans. Like any delicacy, the ingredients must be very good in order for the chef to produce a culinary treat. Italian Coffee requires beans to be roasted in a certain way; the beans of Italian roast coffee should be of a rich brown color and should have very little or no oil on the beans. They are to be roasted at a certain heat for a certain time. Once perfectly roasted they are then air cooled to retain their flavor. Coffee beans need to be ground immediately before brewing to ensure that it still has all its flavor, plus, Italian Coffee is ground in a certain way. Grinding wheels instead of grinding blades are used for a finer, more thorough grind.
But it does not stop there; brewing Italian Coffee must also be done in a certain way. Most baristas (a coffee bartender) need to undergo weeks of training before they can work for a coffee house; just as an example, a Starbucks barista (Italian: baristi) trains for more than a month to learn the coffee variants they serve and brew each kind in a certain way. Ask an Italian how to make a perfect tazza of stove top espresso and be ready for a long discussion.
If you want to enjoy Italian Coffee in your own home, there are various machines that will help you make that perfect espresso. Make sure you have a good machine, it does not necessarily mean that it needs to be expensive; read reviews and ask your friends, or you can check out our list and reviews of coffee makers on our coffee maker review page. And as previously discussed, make sure you get good Italian roast coffee beans, the quality of water must also be very good as well as other ingredients like the milk or cream, sugar, etc. To help you decide on great Italian Coffee roasts, visit our review page.Italian coffee