October 1st is the International Coffee Day! To celebrate this day dedicated to one of the best drinks on earth, I thought to publish this Guide to Italian Coffee I had created some time ago for Smeg Nordic, whose espresso machine is by the way still everyday in use in our home and makes great coffees and cappucinos.
The king of Italian Coffee: Espresso
/ eˈspresˌō /
There are four different kinds of Espresso:
- Ristretto (or corto), 20 ml
- Normale, 25-30 ml
- Lungo, 35-50 ml
- Doppio, a double shot
The difference lies in how much water you will let pass through the coffee filter. If you go to an Italian cafeteria, or bar, and ask for a coffee with no other explanation, you’ll be served a small cup of espresso. It’s very strong and concentrated, so it’s usually drank sweetened with sugar.
/ ˌmækɪˈɑːtəʊ /
It is served in an espresso cup and it is an espresso with a dollop of steamed milk.
/ ko’r:ɛt:o /
An espresso “corrected” with a little amount of liquor, usually grappa, cognac, sambuca or brandy.
Caffè con panna
Espresso with a tablespoon of non-whipped heavy cream on top.
An espresso shot with whipped cream on top.
Deliciously chocolatey, this coffee drink is a shot of espresso in a small glass, foamed milk and cocoa powder.
Tip! Try to add a teaspoon of hazelnut spread at the bottom of the glass before adding the milk for a richer texture.
A shot of espresso with a scoop of ice cream (usually fior di latte or vanilla) in it.
/ ˌkæpəˈtʃiːnəʊ /
What the majority of Italians will ask for in a bar in the morning is a cappuccino. This famous coffee drink requires practice and patience to master it. For a cappuccino, make 1 shot of espresso (two for a stronger flavour) and steam 1dl+1tbsp (around 120 ml) of milk, so that ⅓ of the milk will become a thick, velvety foam and the milk will reach 65°C.
/ ˌmɒkəˈtʃiːnəʊ /
A cappuccino with a little amount of hot chocolate added in it.
Every Italian’s breakfast at home requires caffè latte, which has a shot of espresso in a mug or glass and 1dl+1tbsp (around 120ml) or warm milk.
For latte macchiato, foam about 1dl of milk, pour it in a glass and add a shot of espresso.
This is a shot of espresso in a glass or cappuccino cup with 90°C warm water.
Iced coffee can be done in so many different ways. Almost every Italian region and many other countries in the world have their own tradition about it. Whether cold or hot brewed, black or with milk, sweetened or not, the main idea is to make a refreshing beverage with coffee as the main ingredient.
My personal version of Iced Coffee
Makes one iced coffee
- 1 shot of espresso
- 1-2 tbsp (15/30 ml) of simple syrup, to taste*
- 100 ml of milk of your choice
- 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
- Prepare the espresso and combine it with the simple syrup*
- Fill a glass with ice
- Add the sweetened espresso, the vanilla extract and the milk into the glass, mix well and enjoy!
*In case you don’t have simple syrup, just sweeten the espresso with sugar to taste.
Served in a cold martini glass, caffè shakerato is a long, sweetened espresso shaken in a cocktail shaker with few ice cubes.
Crema di caffè
This delicious coffee cream is something you can order in every italian cafeteria (aka bar) all year round, but especially in summertime. Since in the rest of the world is not such a common beverage, I thought to share with you the recipe for this velvety creamy coffee cold drink. It’s actually very easy to make!
Crema al caffè
- 1 dl espresso
- ½ dl milk
- 2 dl heavy cream
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- A small piece of vanilla bean or ¼ tsp vanilla extract optional
- Add the sugar and, if you want, the piece vanilla bean to the warm espressos
- Add the milk to the espressos and mix
- Chill the espressos
- Whip the heavy cream
- Remove the vanilla bean and add the espressos into the whipped cream
- Mix well and chill in freezer for three hours, mixing the cream every half an hour
- Serve cold in small glasses
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Italian Coffee! Most of those coffees are really easy to recreate at home, just use dark roast, good quality beans and use a Moka Pot in case you don’t have an actual coffee machine!