History Of Italian Coffee – Knowledge For Coffee Lovers

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The history of Italian coffee is rich with different cultures, flavors, and traditions. The Italians do not take their coffee lightly. Coffee is so much more than just a drink to them. It’s an art form, a ritual, a daily habit, and even a way of life. 

Drop by the blog and learn all about Italian coffee! We’ll chat about how it got its name, where it comes from, and what makes it special. You’ll never look at your morning espresso the same way again. 

History Of Italian Coffee Culture

Coffee Arrival In Italy

Coffee’s history is intriguing, as it was formerly considered a luxury item for the social elite before arriving in Venice in the 1700s. Coffee shops sprung up along canal lanes and quickly spread throughout Italy, but not without controversy.

When this new drink became more widely available due to imports from Asia and South America, individuals immediately capitalized on their newfound riches by building cafés where they could enjoy an espresso.

Back then, The Caffè Florian in Venice became renowned not only as one of Europe’s first locations where you could meet around with friends while enjoying your favorite beverage (it still works today). It was also well-known for granting women equal access privileges.

Espresso Machine Invention

Prior to the Espresso machine being a symbol of the contemporary coffee shop (and, to a lesser degree, modern life), all the 19th-century clients needed was they’ll be able to enjoy your coffee in a few minutes.

Angelo Moriondo, an Italian businessman, has the original espresso machine patent. He exhibited the ‘Commercial steam engine for instant coffee’ at the Turin General Exhibition in 1884. Moriondo’s gadget, however, was never marketed.

Angelo Moriondo’s machine’s most rudimentary feature was separate controls for providing water and steam to the coffee. This enables a measured amount of water to enter the chamber before a stream of steam is used to force it out, completing the extraction and leaving a dry coffee “puck.” Nevertheless, at the time, the coffee machine was still large, and the quality was poor.

The world would have to wait until 1901 for the first commercial manufacture of a quick-serve coffee machine. It was the result of a collaborative effort by two guys, Luigi Bezzera and Desiderio Pavoni. They enhanced the machine by downsizing it, installing a pressure relief valve system, and even including a foaming wand. The only disadvantage is that this device is directly heated by fire and has a burned flavor.

When espresso became popular, it was Illy who refined the method by inventing pressurized water in 1930. Since then, the machine has played an essential role in our society!

The Moka pot is now an Italian innovation that has been reproduced and used all over the world. The design hasn’t altered in over a century, and Bialetti is still one of the company’s most well-known brands today.

The Current Italian Coffee Culture

For a long time, Italy has been regarded as the country of superb and world-renowned coffee beverages. Every cup of Italian coffee is full of taste, elegance, and irresistible charm. Over time, Italian coffee culture has evolved into an important aspect of this lovely nation.

The distinction between Italian coffee and other coffees worldwide is that they utilize inexpensive, roasted beans to create a distinct flavor. Furthermore, they frequently add sugar to mask the flaws in the original grain.

Buongiorno!

Remember that you should never order a Cappuccino after 11 a.m. because this is an Italian beverage that is exclusively consumed in the morning. They think that coffee should not be consumed at midday or at night.

  • Cappuccino is a drink made by combining espresso coffee, hot milk, and milk foam in an equal proportion. Featured by the art of visual painting.
  • Latte, similar to Cappuccino but with half the amount of hot milk. 
  • Macchiato is heated milk with a dash of espresso.

Prendiamo Un Caffè!

“Let’s get some coffee!” Caffeine can always be relied on to get your day started. This Italian name for a strong, black espresso is caffè, which means “coffee.” Italians frequently request one in-between bite of their meal or after a long afternoon at work; some even drink them during lunch! 

It would be best to not try to request custom coffee because it is contrary to Italian culture. Want some more caffeine? Just visit the barista more than once a day. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many people practice this method to get enough caffeine for a long working day as well.

Mix It Up

For decades, Italian coffee has been an important component of daily routines, from the smooth and creamy Cappuccino to the full-bodied espresso.

  • Caffè macchiato: For a change from your typical cup of joe, try this gently milky variation characterized with a dash of foamy milk!
  • Caffè corretto: A rich and powerful cup of coffee made with only one addition of alcohol to your normal espresso shot.
  • Caffe lungo has one shot of espresso mixed with hot water, giving it an advantage over other beverages such as Americano in case you need an additional pick-me-up!

Takeaway coffee alternatives, on the other hand, are non-existent in Italy. People here frequently consume it directly at the stores and in a hurry.

Think Regionally

Italy has some of the world’s most distinct coffee cultures. From southern Sicily to northern Le Marche, you may sip a pleasant anise-flavored espresso or cocoa-based beverage known as caffè d’un parrinu or a flavored caffè anisette!

Before placing an order, learn about the region in which your café specializes, as each region has its characteristic coffee flavor.

Al Banco

The phrase “al banco” implies “at the bar.” Italian usually drink coffee at the bar, chatting with friends and coworkers. They usually order, then drink the coffee before paying.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Drinking Italian Coffee?

Protect Against Heart Disease

Italian coffee is the ideal way to begin your day. According to research, it contains strong antioxidants known as flavonoids, which help prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and causing heart disease!

Lower The Risk Of Stroke

Coffee has been a popular beverage for ages. It’s hardly surprising, then, that coffee can be beneficial to your health! According to one interesting research study, ladies who drank an Italian-style espresso every day lowered their risk of stroke by around 20%.

Coffee Reduces The Risk Of Some Cancers

There have been few studies on coffee intake and cancer risk reduction, but scientists revealed that those who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had a 50% reduced chance of dying from oral cancer during a 25-year period.

Different Types Of Italian Coffee Drinks

Caffè (Espresso, Caffè Normale)

Coffee is the Italian word for coffee and the term used by residents to refer to espresso. When ordering from behind the counter, say “un caffè” rather than “un espresso” to be properly Italian.

Caffè Ristretto (Or Caffè Stretto)

If you’re in a hurry and only need one drink, the Ristretto is a wonderful option. Because it includes less water than traditional espresso, it offers a more concentrated flavor without diluting your drink too much. This also goes well with its original name, which implies a restricted coffee.

Caffè Lungo

Lungo basically translates to “long” in Italian, and it’s not only about taste or flavor. “Long” refers to the amount of time it takes to consume or appreciate coffee.

Lungo is simply espresso with hot water. The original Lungo coffee will not be overpowering with this brewing technique. It will be even lighter than the original Americano in the United States.

How To Make Italian Coffee?

  • Fill the Moka Pot halfway with boiling water. Please keep in mind that you should only pour under the tank’s pressure valve! Then, place the metal filter on top and pour the ground coffee into it.
  • Pour in the coffee and gently press it with your fingertips to compress it and prevent it from spilling out.
  • Twist and screw the tank back together.
  • Turn the heat to medium and place the saucepan on the burner. Cook for a few minutes before turning off the heat.
  • Please turn off the heat as soon as you see the coffee begin to boil before it foams.
  • Stir it well with a spoon before pouring it into a cup and serving.

Final Thoughts

The history of Italian coffee culture is as rich and deep as the espresso itself. It’s a tradition, art form, and an integral part of daily life for many Italians. To enjoy coffee according to Italian cultural standards, you certainly still have a lot to learn.

All the above information must have provided you with a clear vision of the Italian coffee origins. Hope you enjoy this post, and we’ll see you in our next one!

Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley. And then, I finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). ugvermont.com is a website that I dedicate my whole heart to sharing all knowledge related to coffee. Read more