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

Posts Tagged ‘italy

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

Two Theses

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The coffee is much better here in Bologna than it was in Milan. Two thoughts:

1) Milan had a massive influx of workers from the poor, southern areas of Italy in the late 19th and early 20th century. If they brought coffee tradition with them, it would account for the roasts being darker there.

2) The water here in Bologna is hard, which makes it difficult to over-extract coffee. I had an espresso today that should have been quite bitter, but was not. It ran blond for a looong time and was quite thin, but it lacked the harshness I was expecting.

A waiter at the restaurant I ate at when I arrived claimed that it’s the machines, but I had a good espresso off of a VBM here, and VBM is a Milanese company. The coffee is significantly lighter and the water has a higher mineral content.

Written by Nick

6 May, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Posted in Coffee

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Uh oh, I might never leave this place

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I arrived in Bologna a few hours ago and have had two incredibly pleasing espressos since then.

Written by Nick

5 May, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Coffee

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