Commandment #5 of the Ten Commandments of Il Culto del Caffe.
Monthly Archives: August 2014
Commandment #2 of the Ten Commandments of Il Culto del Caffe.
Thou shalt not muck around with coffee. Requesting a mint frappuccino in Italy is like asking for a single-malt whisky and lemonade with a swizzle stick in a Glasgow pub. There are but one or two regional exceptions that have the blessing of the general coffee synod. In Naples, you can order un caffe alla nocciola – a frothy espresso with hazelnut cream. In Milan, impress the locals by asking for un marocchino, a sort of upside-down cappuccino, served in a small glass and sprinkled with cocoa powder, hit with a blob of frothed milk, then spiked with a shot of espresso.
I found this article on a website I frequent. This stuff will help you appear less like a tourist if you plan on traveling in Italy. Abide by the code! In our Starbucks coffee culture, we sit down, enjoy a cup of coffee, socialize. In Italy they order an espresso, down it in one or two gulps while standing at the counter, place the cup down, and leave. Though this seems unusual for us, this is completely normal for Italians. So, over the next ten days, here are the ten commandments of true Italian coffee drinkers. Good luck!
Here, then, for those who fancy going native in true Lorenzo of Arabica style, is Commandment #1 of the Ten Commandments of Il Culto del Caffe.
1. Thou shalt drink only cappuccino, caffe latte, latte macchiato or any milky form of coffee in the morning – and never after a meal. Italians cringe at the thought of all that hot milk hitting a full stomach. An American friend who has lived in Rome for many years continues, knowingly, to break this rule. But she has learned, at least, to apologise to the barista.
Can you make espresso without an espresso machine? Yes, there are stove-top espresso makers like this available from stores and online at Amazon.com. The name for these stove top espresso makers is “moka” which comes from Italian. The pot is divided into a lower and upper chamber which screws apart at the center. You put water in the lower chamber and then place the piece that holds the ground coffee with the stem down into the water. Finally screw the top chamber in place securely. When the pot is put on the stove and the water reaches the correct temperature, it is forced up through the coffee grounds into the upper chamber. It is best to place the pot on medium heat and on the smallest burner you have. You need to keep an eye on it and remove it from the heat as soon as you hear the last of the water coming into the top chamber. You’ll soon know when this is happening by the sound that the moka pot is making. Consider the size before you buy. You don’t want to buy one that is any bigger than the number of cups you are typically going to make. Use good beans and grind them to a medium grind, not the fine grind you use in an espresso machine. As always, use high quality espresso beans. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to make crema like you do in an espresso machine when using a moka pot, but if you are using good beans, you will still have delicious coffee to enjoy.
Flat White is an espresso-based drink common in New Zealand and Australia. In making a flat-white you are essentially making a latte, but pouring less milk to start, and then placing less of the micro-foam milk on the top, hence the word “flat” in the name. Whereas a latte has about half to one inch of micro-foam on top depending on preference, a flat-white has only about 1/4 inch of micro-foam on top.
When preparing your milk for a flat-white, blend or fold the micro-foam into the rest of the milk either with a spoon or by swirling the pitcher. The milk should be velvety and wet. When making a flat white, after the milk has been steamed, let it rest for about a minute. Just before pouring the milk into the espresso, fold the fluffy micro-foam milk that will be sitting at the top of the pitcher into the milk sitting at the bottom. Yes, “fold”, just like when baking a cake, but not with a spatula; use a teaspoon. Or if you don’t like to use a spoon, swirl the pitcher so that the micro-foam mixes with the milk. You should end up with milk that is rich, velvety, and wet. Pour this into the espresso to the desired level, but bearing in mind that in a true flat-white you do not drown the espresso in milk. At the very end cap the coffee with about 1/4 inch of the micro-foam that you should find has separated from the milk.