In Italy it is not unusual to go out for a cup several times a day in a process that is quite a ritual. Coffee is ordered at the bar, paid for before receiving it and a little water is drunk before to cleanse the palate. Milk-based preparations are reserved for breakfast, and throughout the day, we prefer a real espresso, with the temperature, body and creaminess simply perfect.
The term "espresso" refers to drinking coffee freshly brewed on the spot, the true Italian way of tasting it. In reality, an Italian simply asks for a caffé, per favore, and it is understood that what he is looking for is an espresso as the canons mandate. What are the ingredients that guarantee its authenticity?
The first thing is to have top quality ingredients. Italy is one of the countries that imports the most coffee in the world, and every professional knows how to choose the origins that interest him most for their organoleptic qualities. You can also choose from different types of Arabica, Robusta or blended coffee.
Another point to take into account is that at the moment the coffee is ground, it begins to lose properties, it oxidizes and loses its aroma; this is the reason why baristas only work with their own grinders or with super automatic coffee makers that grind the coffee instantly, always at the moment of each preparation.
Even this step is controlled to the maximum, as the thickness of the grinding will have different effects on the drink. A too fine grinding could give a too strong, short and very bitter coffee, but if it is too thick it could lose intensity causing an espresso with little body and little flavor. Every master knows how to calibrate the grind with millimetric perfection.
With the right coffee, fresh, recently roasted and freshly ground, all that's left to do is to adjust the coffee maker correctly. And, of course, only top-quality mineral water is used, with no smell or taste to mask the coffee.
Italians pamper every component in the making of coffee and also take care of their coffee machines every day, inside and out. The whole process is completed by preparing the expected volume of coffee - neither too short nor too long - in suitable cups, and serving it, always freshly made.