Italy has a rich and strong tradition in bakery products. Every region and every single village has been contributing to the Italian gastronomic heritage with their traditional bakery recipes.
Coffee plant, that grows in an equatorial climate, inspired Italian creativity and know-how, leading to the creation of special preparation methods, able to exalt the aroma of Coffee grains. As a result, Italians invented the Espresso, the best way to obtain from roasted coffee beans all the pleasure that this product is able to offer. Italian Espresso is the drink obtained by forcing adequately pressurized hot water through ground coffee. In order to safeguard and promote its originality, the real Italian Espresso is certified by the mark “Espresso Italiano”. Certified Italian Espresso has a hazelnut-colored cream, verging on dark brown with tawny hinges. This cream has a very fine texture, which means that its mesh is tight and large or small bubbles are absent. It reveals an intense scent with notes of flowers, fruits, toasted bread and chocolate. The good cup of coffee drinkable in Italian houses is usually done with the moka pot or the “caffettiera” , the small coffee machine that every Italian has in the kitchen.
Coffee appeared in Italy for the first time in Venice in 1570. Venetians were the first ones to taste and enjoy coffee, even if initially it was sold in pharmacy and it was very expensive. The introduction of coffee collided with the opinion o some members of the Church, so that some Christian fanatics incited Pope Clement VIII to ban the “drink of the devil” to the faithful. But the Pope, tasting a cup, was not against its use. Thanks to papal approval and blessing, the coffee multiplied its successes. After the opening of the first coffee shop, in 1763 Venice counted 218 shops dedicated to coffee.
After a century, the Espresso was born: it appeared in 1884, when Angelo Moriondo created and patented the first professional coffee machine for his own Bar in Turin. The name Espresso came from the velocity of the making: machines for Espresso spend only 45 seconds to make a cup of it. During the XIX century, the functioning of the Espresso machine changed in many ways and also the patent passed to many Italian entrepreneurs of coffee industry. In the 1933 the “Moka” was invented: this revolutionary creation made possible to each Italian to do his/her own cup of coffee at home. Espresso and Moka made coffee popular in the whole country and even worldwide thanks to Italian emigrants.
Coffee grains are extracted from the fruit of the coffee plant, by dry treatment or wet treatment. In the dry treatment, the fruits are dried by extending them to the sun. The coffee produced with the dry treatment is called natural or unwashed. The so-called “wet treatment” requires a lot of water: it is longer and expensive, but the product obtained – called washed – has a better quality.
Once extracted, coffee beans are rigorously selected by roasting coffee companies. To get the right coffee drink, with good aroma and taste, companies need to mix more types of coffee, with different qualities and provenances. The roasting phase take place at a temperature of 200-230°C/392-446°F for 10-15 minutes. Roasting causes important changes to the grain, which decreases, increases in volume, becomes friable, takes a brown color and develops many aromatic components inside. It is therefore the toasting that gives coffee the taste, the aroma and the color that characterize it. In Italy, where a strong, well-marked taste beverage is preferred, roasting is done with higher temperatures and times. For the Espresso or the Moka made coffee, the grains must be milled in order to create the ground coffee ready for these machines.
Italian Espresso taste is round, substantial and smooth. Acidity and bitterness are well balanced and neither one prevails over the other. Astringency is absent or barely perceptible. 100 grams of coffee contain 9 calories, 212 mg caffeine, 0.2 grams of fat, 1.7 grams of carbohydrates, 2 mg calcium, 115 potassium and 80 mg of magnesium. Health authorities recommend to assume a maximum of 300mg per day of caffeine, so 3 cups of Espresso per day. Moka made coffee has a higher percentage of caffeine than the Espresso. If you do not want to assume caffeine, without giving up on the Espresso or Moka made coffee taste, you can drink coffee without caffeine. Decaffeinated coffee contains caffeine in quantities not exceeding 0.1% on the dry substance. Caffeine is eliminated from green grain with water or carbon dioxide. For Italians coffee is also the key ingredient of many recipes, such as one of the most worldwide famous dessert: the tiramisù.
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