What Makes Italian Espresso Different?

You may be keen on coffee, and you might have tried a lot of different types, so you probably could make a good comparison. However, when it comes to Italian espresso, even people who do not drink coffee know that Italians make a unique shot of espresso. A remarkable flavor distinguishes it. So, what makes Italian espresso different, and what is the secret behind their coffee flavors?

The secret behind the authentic and distinct taste of the Italian espresso lies in the roasting procedure for the coffee beans, independently from the country of origin. Italians tend to roast the beans on the darker side of the spectrum, producing dark and oily beans with a high amount of caffeine.

Italian Espresso.

This article will discuss Italian espresso as a distinct and distinguished type of coffee whose taste cannot easily be achieved. If you have wondered why the flavor of Italian espresso is so unique, you are about to find some fantastic facts about how Italian coffee is made. After reading the article, you will understand the fuss around Italian espresso and why it has magical taste.

Why Does Italian Espresso Taste Different?

You have probably heard that Italian espresso tastes a lot differently, and it is nothing compared to the espresso we drink in regular coffee shops. Italians are known as people who drink coffee at all times, without minding the time, i.e., they can drink it even at midnight, and it would not make any difference to them. What is more, they do not pick the right flavor, as people do most when they go to local shops, due to the fact that they have THE taste – the one that coffee lovers crave.

We need to consider several factors to understand why there are differences between the espresso we regularly drink and the Italian one. The differences arise due to the methods of making espresso and people’s culture and habits when it comes to coffee. It is a kind of circle with interlaced factors, so you need to understand them all to acknowledge why there is such a difference in the taste of the coffee.

Roasting Method

Some people believe that Italian espresso tastes better due to the different coffee brands they use. Although the coffee brand may play a significant role, the personal and unique taste is in the roasting method. Italian baristas have a particular way of roasting; therefore, they have a unique taste of espresso.

According to the award-winning barista, James Hoffman, it all comes down to your technique for roasting the coffee beans. Some coffee chains tend to roast the coffee beans darker, meaning that they achieve a bitter flavor and give a stronger taste.

On the other hand, if you roast the beans lighter, you get the coffee’s complex taste and texture. However, if you mess it up and get it wrong, you will get the sour flavor, which no one likes. Generally, people would accept and like the bitter flavor of the coffee, while they do not tolerate the sourness in it.

Nonetheless, as I mentioned before, the brand also plays an essential role in the process of making an espresso cup. When it comes to this, it can be said that Italians do not have any notable brands, and they also import coffee beans. But the special roasting and brewing also give a unique taste of the espresso that everyone would recognize after trying it once.

Italian Espresso Culture

While people in the US, and many other parts of the world, are used to ask for a cup of espresso in a coffee shop, Italians only ask for a cup of coffee. This is because, in Italy, coffee and espresso have the same meaning. If you only use the phrase “un caffe,” you can be sure that you will get a shot of espresso.

This means that for Italians, espresso is something they drink daily, not something they drink when they want to scroll down the internet while hanging around in a coffee shop. Since they drink it regularly and at any time, the bars in Italy do not serve espresso in the same way as coffee shops. For instance, in an ordinary Italian bar, you will be served around 7 grams of ground coffee per cup, while in coffee shops, you will get somewhere between 8 to 10 grams.

Due to their habit of drinking coffee a lot, by nature, they would not consume something very strong multiple times a day. This is why they need something lighter, and that is not what is served in regular coffee shops with specialized types of coffee. That is one more reason for the different tastes of espresso in Italy.

What Is Exactly Italian Coffee?

On average, the classic Italian shot of espresso usually comprises mostly Robusta beans, which have a thick body and strong flavor to make the caffeine dominant. That is why drinking one shot of espresso could really give you the shake you need when you feel that you do not have enough energy. Also, this is why Italians drink it multiple times a day.

However, Italy does not grow and export coffee beans in the country. Italians do not have suitable conditions for growing green coffee, meaning that they have to import it. They import coffee beans from different countries; however, they all seem to have the same taste.

This is because they have the custom to drink a small amount of coffee that has been roasted uniquely. They tend to do the roasting meticulously regardless of the origin of the coffee beans. The difference between Italian espresso and the regular espresso that you may get in a coffee shop is due to the way of preparation and the different espresso cultures that Italians have. Therefore, if you ever go to Italy, make sure that you drink your espresso in a traditional bar rather than a specialized coffee shop so that you can taste the authentic Italian flavor.

Charlie McFarlane

Specialty Coffee Enthusiast. Hungry for knowledge in the art and science behind specialty coffee and decided to document my journey, while sharing it with the public. More than 10 baristas were interviewed; over 21 farms were visited across 5 countries. Almost 100 Coffee Shops. Bean of choice: Pacamara. Preferred coffee country: Panama. Preferred Brewing Method: Aeropress. Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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