Italian Caffè: everything you need to know and more!

May 2, 2019

Italian Caffè: everything you need to know and more!

At Tuscookany, you will learn everything about coffee: from pronouncing, to preparing and of course enjoying!

Even though coffee may have been invented in Ethiopia, Italy is where the magic is at for true coffee lovers. The Italian word for coffee is ‘caffè’ and this may refer to either an espresso or a European coffee bar. The Italians are well known for their special attention to the preparation, the selection of the blends and the use of accessories when creating many types of coffee, which basically makes Italy the coffee capital of the world! Interested in the origin of the espresso, 10 ways to prepare an espresso or how you can enjoy an espresso in the Tuscan hills at one of our cookery schools in Italy? Keep reading!

As you may or may not know, coffee is made from coffee beans from a coffee plant. The most popular kind of coffee is Arabica, from the Coffee Arabica plant in Ethiopia. Did you know that Arabica coffee makes up approximately 60% of coffee production worldwide? The second most popular coffee is Robusta, which is made from the Coffea Canephora plant, which also has its origins in Africa.

There is a whole process that goes by before you can enjoy your cup of coffee. After plucking the beans from the plant they first have to be peeled, cleaned and dried before they can be being roasted. These roasted beans can then be ground.  The roughness of this the grind will be determined by the preparation method. For example, Turkish or cold brew coffee have a thick grind, whereas espresso is made from the finest grind. After grinding the beans, you can use a French press, a Drip or, of course, an espresso machine, to prepare the perfect cup of coffee! At our Italian cooking classes in Tuscany, we have a great espresso machine that you can use whenever you wish!

Did you know that the modern steamless espresso machine was invented in Milan, Italy in 1938? No wonder the Italians love their espresso!

Achille Gaggia was the first to invent a machine that forced water to flow over the coffee grounds at a high pressure, which produced the unique creamy top layer of the espresso called the crema. From applying for a patent in 1938, the invention spread in coffee bars and restaurants across Italy and the rest of Europe quickly. The Italian-based company Gaggia, named after its founder, still produces espresso and cappuccino machines to this day.

Whereas most people think of filter coffee or cappuccino when ordering a cup of the black gold, the Italians have tens of sorts of coffee, all made with their lovely espresso. We’ve listed the 10 most popular types of espresso for you:

10 types of Espresso drinks

  1. Caffè:
    The list leader is the classic espresso, and its name means expressly prepared. Order a caffè in Italy and you will get a small cup with a very concentrated coffee. In need of a lot of caffeine? Try ordering a ‘doppio’, which means a double espresso!
  2. Ristretto:
    Thought an espresso was small? Ristretto, which means restricted, is only 15-20 ml, which is roughly two sips! The amount of ground coffee is the same in both espresso and ristretto, only less water is added in the process.
  3. Macchiato:
    This is a very popular drink in Italy and it means stained. You make a macchiato with 2 oz espresso and steamed milk.
  4. Cortado:
    Cortado is the Spanish baby brother of the macchiato and this type has equal parts of espresso and warm milk, which makes the cup ‘cut’ in half.
  5. Americano:
    Probably one of the most popular espresso types is the americano: espresso with hot water. The espresso is extracted on top of the water, which gives it a milder and sweeter taste than a regular espresso. The story goes that American G.I.’s in Italy would dilute espresso with hot water during World War II, to imitate the coffee they were accustomed to at home. 
  6. Cappuccino:
    At Tuscookany, we love cappuccino. The coffee, named for the color after the colour of the Capuchin monk’s robes consists of 1/3 part warm milk, 1/3 part milk foam and 1/3 part espresso.
  7. Latte:
    Latte, which means milk in Italian, is made with 3 parts milk to 1 part espresso. It is regularly served in a tall glass.
  8. Flat white:
    This is the lovechild of a latte macchiato and cappuccino and the flat white is made with espresso and warm milk. If you think a latte macchiato has a great taste but too much milk and a cappuccino has too much foam, you definitely have to try the flat white! 
  9. Mocha:
    The mocha is the perfect drink for chocolate loving coffee drinkers. It is made with espresso, milk and chocolate and definitely worth a try when you are in Italy!
  10. Mezzo:
    Mezzo means half and this drink combines an americano with milk. Perfect if you’re not a coffee drinker or if you like your coffee mild and with milk!

Are you excited to prepare your own espresso, macchiato or americano and drink it with a view of the Tuscan hills? Come to our Tuscan cooking vacation and enjoy your caffè all week long! Indulge in coffee at our cooking classes in Italy, whether you like yours early in the morning or after cooking classes in the afternoon! Drink coffee at breakfast, during the cooking classes or at the pool: at Tuscookany we understand that there’s never enough coffee! Especially if it’s Italian coffee J ! You will even be working on your health, as drinking coffee can also have a healthy effect on your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing!

What is your favorite Italian coffee? Let us know in the comments!

Kind regards,

The Tuscookany Team



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