ceoloide wrote:Hello All,
I'm new to the forum and this is my first post, couldn't resist chiming in on an Italian vs American coffee discussion!
I'm Italian and have been raised in northern Italy by a southern Italian family. I have been living in the USA for 2 years now, and have visited my local NJ family plenty of times before, so I have a good view of the differences between American and Italian coffee. Finally, I had basic training as a barista, so I can speak with some professional knowledge.
( excellent quote snipped short )
Hi Marco, I couldn't agree more. I've spent considerable time in Italy on business. Everything you said is spot on, each city and region is a culture unto itself.
The overall take-away from my travels is that espresso is simply a commodity drink in Italy. It's done economically and quickly and in many, if not all cities, the price of a coffee is regulated to a Euro or so. Maybe a bit more in tourist areas. Even if it wasn't regulated, I'd guess most Italians would be offended by a higher price.
Weirdly, I've had terrible coffee in expensive high class bars and restaurants in Italy, and had really good shots at highway stops and train stations. It is just kinda random. Cappuccino is common at breakfast time, latte's are for children, lol. Any time after breakfast, it's pretty much shots or a machiatto - albeit grudgingly prepared if the bar doesn't have milk out at the time.
As far as espresso goes, 7g single baskets and 14g doubles, and frequently, if you ask for a single they'll make a double and set aside or dump the second half.
Tamping these days is generally done against a fixed plastic tool stuck on the grinder, not much pressure, just a quick mash it down. Sometimes, I've seen not at all. Just jam it in the brewhead all loose.
The hotel Aldrovandi Villa Borghese had some of the best coffee at breakfast I've had in Italy. I also really liked some of the places the locals took us for coffee in Torino.
The worst coffee seems to be in the tourist areas around Rome. Bitter and unpleasant, I'd figure cheapest possible coffee is used.