This blog really wants to stand at a bar and drink his espresso.

Add Sugar [Updated]

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I was touring the Dalla Corte factory and Jens Thomsen, my guide for the morning, told me two things that suprised me: they cup espresso both with and without sugar, and THREE World Barista Championships have been won with Illy coffee. In retrospect they both make sense, and my surprise had to do with the narrowness of my experience in coffee. I’ll deal with the second thing in a subsequent post.

I have not seen any Italians drink their espresso straight here, and when I finally gave up and started putting a half spoonful of sugar in my coffees the flavors started to make a bit more sense. I am sure I couldn’t bear to dump a whole packet of sugar in my demitasse (which I frequently see happen), but with the added sugar the harshness disappears and the “coffee” flavor comes through. It tastes like slightly stale generic Brazil, and it’s pleasant.

So it makes sense that any decent espresso machine factory would cup the espresso that their machines make with sugar. Even if the coffee is intended to be consumed straight, perhaps a certain part of the coffee industry in the United States should stop clinging to the irrational assumption that people will suddenly stop adding sugar to their coffee.

Update: Here in Bologna (the first part of the post was written in Milan), the coffee is roasted much lighter, and is of a much higher quality. There’s less need to add sugar, but I still see it frequently added to all the coffee drinks. All coffees are served with water, and there’s cream on the side of the bar as well.


Written by Nick

22 May, 2009 at 6:20 am

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