Italian espresso is an art, the result of an ancient tradition. A beverage drunk from a cup, obtained by passing pressurised hot water though the coffee powder. By definition, Italian espresso is born of the judicious blending of different coffee types from various parts of the world, that combine to create a rich, inebriating aroma and a firm, velvety body.

The following conditions are vital to making a cup of authentic Italian espresso:

  1. Quantity of ground coffee required: 7 g (± 0.5 g)
  2. Water output temperature: 88¼C (± 2¼C)
  3. Temperature of beverage in the cup: 67¼C (± 3¼C)
  4. Water pressure: 9 bar (± 1 bar)
  5. Percolating time: 25 seconds (± 2.5 seconds)
  6. Viscosity at 45¼C: > 1.5 mPa s
  7. Total lipids: > 2mg/ml
  8. Caffeine: < 100 mg/cup
  9. Millilitres in cup (including head): 25 ml (± 2.5 ml)

ESPRESSO IS THE FRUIT OF A COMBINATION OF VARIOUS COFFEE TYPES
By definition and tradition, Italian espresso is born of the judicious blending of different coffee types from various parts of the world, that combine to create a rich, inebriating aroma and a firm, velvety body.

A GOOD CUP OF ESPRESSO COFFEE
An espresso machine delivers one millilitre of coffee per second; it therefore takes 25 seconds to make a standard cup (25 millilitres) of espresso.
If it only takes 15 seconds, a substantial part of the espresso has been left in the coffee grind. In this case, the result falls short of what are normally considered its required sensorial characteristics: a coffee with little body and excessively bitter.
If on the other hand it takes 35 seconds to make the coffee, the opposite applies: the woody, astringent and generally unpleasant substances of the coffee grind will also be present in the cup.

THE SENSORIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A CUP OF AUTHENTIC ESPRESSO
Real Italian espresso is topped by a creamy head that is hazelnut-coloured, tending towards dark brown with tawny hints. The aroma is intense, featuring floral, fruity, toasted and chocolaty notes. The flavour is round, consistent and velvety. The acidic and bitter tastes are balanced, without little or no astringency.
The general sensorial characteristics of coffee (espresso and non) are separated into VISUAL, OLFACTORY, GUSTATIVE and TACTILE.

VISUAL characteristics are based on:

  • Colour
  • Consistency
  • Persistence

OLFACTORY characteristics generated by coffee are:

  • Toasted
  • Chocolaty
  • Floral
  • Fruity
  • Peanuts
  • Wet jute
  • Straw
  • Grass
  • Smoke
  • Rotting flowers
  • Stagnant water
  • Rancid

The GUSTATIVE characteristics are based on:

AFTERTASTE

  • Aroma
  • Persistence

FLAVOUR

  • Sweet
  • Acidic
  • Bitter

The TACTILE characteristics are based on:

  • Softness
  • Astringency
  • Temperature (70/76¡C)
  • Body - density/viscosity

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ESPRESSO COFFEE

Real Italian espresso coffee is enjoyed from a small, dry and pre-heated ceramic cup with conical interior.
The following are the various types of beverages made with espresso coffee:

ITALIAN ESPRESSO: contains a maximum of 20 - 25 ml of coffee

DOPPIO: double dose of espresso making a total of 50 ml of coffee

RISTRETTO: espresso with less than 25 ml of coffee

LUNGO: espresso with more than 25 ml of coffee

CORRETTO: espresso with a splash of liqueur

MACCHIATO: espresso with a drop of hot or cold milk

CON PANNA: espresso with whipped cream

FREDDO: sugared espresso shaken with ice

AMERICANO: espresso lengthened with hot water (max. 80 ml)

CAPPUCCINO: one third frothy milk, one third hot milk (70¡C), 25 ml espresso in a 120 ml cup.

COFFEE'S IDEAL PARTNER: FROTHY MILK
To make frothy milk:

  • Use cold milk (max 4¡C), preferably whole 3-3.5%;
  • fill the metal or ceramic jug to 50% of its volume;
  • discharge the steam rod;
  • immerse the rod to 1-2 cm below the surface of the milk;
  • tilt the jug; make sure that the rod is not in the centre nor against the jug wall;
  • open the steam. Control the milk/air vortex. Do not lift the rod out of the milk;
  • control the temperature by keeping your hand on the side of the jug (max. 70-75¡C);
  • shut off the steam;
  • extract the rod and wipe with a damp cloth;
  • tap the jug several times on the counter to stabilise the froth and to burst the larger bubbles;
  • tilt the jug and pour the milk into the cup;
  • gently shaking the jug, pour the froth until the cup is full.

Never reheat the same milk; add some cold milk (max. 4¡C) to the milk left in the jug.

COFFEE & MILK
Espresso with hot milk (70-75¡C) with no froth in a cappuccino cup or cylindrical glass (200/220 ml milk, 25 ml espresso).

LATTE MACCHIATO
Cup or glass of hot milk into which an espresso is poured (200/220 ml, 25 ml espresso).

CAPPUCCINO DOUBLE
E spresso with a greater quantity of frothy hot milk (not necessarily double), normally poured into a large glass (max. 250 ml).

SUGAR
The perfect espresso has an optimal balance of flavours and does not require any additives. The addition of sugar or cream reduces the acidity and bitterness of espresso.

REFINED SUGAR
Refined sugar dissolves quickly though does not alter the flavour significantly.

CANE SUGAR
Unrefined cane sugar dissolves more slowly and sweetens less than refined sugar. Slightly aromatic.

POLYALCOHOL SWEETENERS
Sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol do not modify the flavour of espresso.

INTENSE SWEETENERS
Saccharine, aspartame, acesulfame K, cyclamates can have more or less sweetening power than sugar, with a bitter aftertaste.














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