jimmyprosciutto

sharing (Italian) food to enjoy life

Why do I love “the Mighty Espresso”?

Posted by Jim Carfrae on November 24, 2009

I have come to take my morning pleasure for granted, even though I have been drinking coffee for only a short time.   I recently had the incredible opportunity to visit the Lavazza training centre in Torino, Italy.  Lavazza is the leading coffee in Italy and the leading espresso around the world.

I usually have an espresso or latte to start my day.  Very occasionally I have a brewed drip coffee and each time wonder why so massively different than my usual. As a snob I’ll say the quality of the coffee and style of roasting of Lavazza is better, and it probably is.  At the training centre I had an espresso and brewed coffee made from the same beans, still there is a huge difference, including the caffeine.

Espresso, and all espresso based drinks – cappuccino, latte …, are made with very high pressure and short contact time with finely ground coffee.  Brewed coffee is made at a normal pressure with a long contact between the water and a coarser grind of coffee, about 5 minutes versus 25 seconds. The results:

  • Espresso has a much more aroma, body and a thin foamy “crema” that the pressure extracts.
  • The brewed coffee has less coffee flavour extracted.  The long contact actually extracts three times more caffeine than an espresso.

I received an aerosol vanilla mousse from the folks at the training centre and had some fun at our last dinner party.  I filled one side of the cup with the mousse and poured the espresso down the other side for a coffee and dessert combination.  (This picture was actually at the training centre, my creation didn’t look quite as perfect.)

As the chefs say, make sure you serve a good coffee; a bad coffee can ruin a great meal.

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