From each invention came a reason as to why it was created in the first place. For the long loved Italian espresso, it was derived from the amount of time it took to make one cup of coffee. Luigi Bezzera felt it was time to create a cup of coffee that was much faster and extracted the true nature of the bean. Hence came the espresso.
Let’s take a step back for a second. Espresso has confused many of us probably due to the amount of misplaced marketing messages we view. “Espresso Beans” you can find at the grocery store. But, it’s not a bean. It’s a way to make the bean and enjoy, just like a French Press, Chemex or Moka Pot. The difference is espresso uses a steam machine to extract only the best parts of the delicious coffee bean. You take coffee beans, grind them very fine, then make them into this special little
- Espresso is consumed very differently in Italy than it is here in the U.S. Americans would rather cozy up to one large cup of coffee vs Italians having several 5 oz cups off espresso all day long.
- Time of day – The type of coffee drink consumed in Italy is going to depend on the time of day. Where Americans will enjoy their cappuccino and lattes at any time, caffé lattes and cappuccinos will not be ordered after 11am, and never with a meal. A caffé macchiato may be enjoyed as an afternoon “pick-me-up,” but milky drinks are strictly reserved for the morning.
- To-go – Your order of coffee in Italy is assumed to be “for here” unless specified as a “take away” as called by Italians. The espresso is served at a temperature ready to be consumed immediately, while standing at the bar. Italians don’t typically order their coffee with plans to stay long; otherwise, they will be charged extra for the service of a waiter.
- Payment – It’s customary in Italy to walk into the bar and shout out your order to the barista, even if he has his back to you. Once your coffee is served, you stand and the bar, gulp down the drink and pay after it’s already been consumed. The only time in Italy it will be required to pay before you drink your beverage is at places frequented by tourists such as the airport.
- Latte – If you go into a coffee shop in Italy requesting a latte, don’t be too surprised when the barista serves you with a simple glass of milk. Latte literally translates to “milk”, so you received exactly what you ordered. If you want the typical drink called latte as it is served in America, be sure to specify you want to order a caffé latte, which includes a shot of espresso.