Italians don’t know they are drinking such bad coffee - Page 2

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
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#11: Post by drgary »

stefano65 wrote:
Hello Gary hope all is well with you and Janet
Stefano, we're good. We're overdue for another visit with you and Kathleen.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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#12: Post by IamOiman »

stefano65 wrote: As per my last trip in italy just a couple of months ago, and this time only three different locations,
I can say that finding good espresso is getting harder and harder, (and I go back often since 1991 when I moved here)
now in Milano the new rage is this chain of Caffe' stile Napoletano, with levers machine, that one was good you just have to remember to tell them no sugar
since they will automatically put it in the cup just like in Napoli,
otherwise blahhh,
I have to capitulate to the fact that some of the capsule machines do a decent job on the result compared to same in bars/cafes.
Very very sad
Those cialde/ESE pods can produce some very decent espresso for the price using a €120-140 Frog machine. In fact they can be so good I would recommend them to people looking for espresso but do not want to learn how to make it properly (ie traditional machines). What is unfortunate is many bars in Italy cannot exceed the quality of those pods, usually due to either lack of cleaning and maintenance of equipment, improper dosing, stale beans, or inconsistent tamping.

Good bars are definitely out there, but it is a search I am always undertaking when I visit new towns or regions to remember when I visit again.
I'll throw my portafilter in the ring
LMWDP #612

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#13: Post by another_jim »

Italy did not invent coffee culture, since Europe has been filled with grand cafes since the late 17th century. It did invent fast, modern, mass produced, cheap coffee culture between the 1920s and the 1960s. Would anyone in their right mind prefer a cup of silex coffee from a fast food joint, gas station, or office lunch counter, which is what mass coffee culture was like everywhere else in the world, to a shot of espresso? They cost about the same.

These "bad Italian espresso" articles actually prove how good Italian espresso really is, because its mass produced shots are being compared with non-Italian espresso bars who charge 4 times as much and require 4 times the wait to get served, and they still, for a large part, keep up.
Jim Schulman


#14: Post by nuketopia »

I've travelled in Italy many times and spent considerable time there.

I think most Italians would think many of us completely nuts, spending so much time and especially money, on coffee. It's a quick pick-me-up, a reason to take a quick break, just something customary. The reason espresso exists is so bars can serve exactly the amount of coffee ordered and no one has to drink from a pot that's been there for hours.

The very idea of using 3 times as much coffee as needed to make a shot would merit a roll of the eyes in most places.

The whole food and beverage industry culture is very different from the US, from the way meals are ordered and consumed to the way service is provided and charged for.

Most espresso in Italy is consumed on the spot, standing up. Even in office break areas, people are likely to stand around the vending machine a few minutes and chat for a minute or two while consuming the espresso.

That being sad, I don't usually get a bad espresso while there. I just don't get a lot of great ones. Most are drinkable and ok. The worst is wandering in off the normal hours and getting a shot from a machine that's been sitting there getting super hot for a couple of hours while idle.

Of course, a coca-cola will set you back more than a Starbucks in the US!

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#15: Post by yoshi005 »

For most italians an espresso at a bar is a commodity. Compared to the average German bar espresso, quality is pretty good because most baritas in italy know what they do.

When compared to specialty coffee, the traditional italian espresso is bad. Pricing rules inhibit the use of quality coffee for the average bar espresso.

Compared to other countries you dont find many specialty coffee bars in italy, and even that has changed recently.

We are talking abour two different worlds of coffee.
LMWDP #453


#16: Post by nuketopia »

LOL, German espresso.

Especially the stuff from the self-serve espresso machines in the Lufthansa business lounge at the Frankfurt airport.

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#17: Post by yoshi005 »

+1 But we have more specialty coffee bars than Italy.
LMWDP #453

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#18: Post by IamOiman » replying to yoshi005 »

For some people, what is offered in Italy is what they prefer (like me!).
I'll throw my portafilter in the ring
LMWDP #612


#19: Post by OldNuc »

That would be my position as well. Not a big fan of under roasted coffee. Also not much credence given to random articles from writers who I know nothing about.

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#20: Post by randomorbit »

I'm not sure it's the Italians who don't know they're being served bad coffee. Over recent years I've visited any number of fancy specialty coffee shops in the USA utilizing the best and shiniest equipment available, and "3rd wave" beans only to be served a lemony sour shot.

Honestly in my experience it's easier to get an acceptable shot from stale Italian roast beans than from the currently fashionable light roasts. As I think a lot of us have discovered getting the best out of lighter roasts requires very tight control over all the variables, and a fair amount of trial and error. These are not things that can be easily and reliably done in a busy cafe with a number of baristas. Therefore if you're not committed to training and controlling your consistency very closely, you're probably better off going with a more traditional roast that is more forgiving. Just installing a Linea, and Malkoneig k30 are not going to result in great coffee without well trained and consistent baristas, but I have been served bad shots in any number of cafes with precisely that equipment, who are serving beans from great 3rd wave roasters.

In other words I feel like the current trend towards specialty coffees in the U.S. and small roasters springing up everywhere and jumping on the 3rd wave bandwagon is resulting in lots of very fancy, expensive, bad coffee. I can't say for sure, but I would probably rather have the fast cheap commodity coffee served in a lot of Italian Espresso bars than a lot of the under roasted, under extracted shots served in a lot of U.S. specialty cafes.