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Serving and Enjoying Espresso
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Serving and...  
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Feb 24, 2013, 6:10pm
Subject: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

I know this question is pretty broad, but I've noticed most of the coffee culture we talk about here is 3rd-wave coffeehouse culture and primarily influenced by markets outside of Italy. While I love every bit of it, I'm really interested in also learning about traditional Italian espresso culture and its rituals. I know about the sugar, the glass of water, the demitasse spoon, but I have only been able to find sporadic tidbits of information on the subject. Does anyone know where I can find out more about how to serve traditional espresso and how one drinks it, stirs it, etc? Thanks!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,109
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sun Feb 24, 2013, 8:56pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

You asked about traditional dosing several days ago, yeah?

I posted a link to the Instituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano. Seems you haven't had a chance to check it out. They have at least some info there.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Feb 24, 2013, 9:51pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

I totally did, emrad. Sorry I didn't respond, it was a decent resource, but either I'm having trouble navigating the site or there's not much about actual Italian cafe culture, customs, and rituals. Did I miss something?
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 3:30am
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

I'm going to assume from the lack of replies that the web resources on this are as scant as I've been led to believe.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,109
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 5:48am
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

Ok cool, my bad! I hadn't read everything on there in a while. There must be less than what I remember...sorry. Sadly then, it's the best place I know of for the info you seek.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,152
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 8:08am
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

May I suggest starting with the history of moka pots and the history of espresso machines, I think this will lead you to more in-depth look at the culture that brought this to us. Wikipedia will have links that will get you to endless google searches  for hours of reading.
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JohnLyn
Senior Member
JohnLyn
Joined: 15 Aug 2011
Posts: 243
Location: Golden, BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldy
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Toastess popper
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 9:37am
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

I would suggest going to travel in Italy or at least going to "Little Italy" type districts in major city's. From what I have seen, espresso is what it sounds, a quick affair. Usually cup, saucer, spoon. Traditional cappuccino's are regular as are coffee with hot milk mixed in a glass. Italians gather at the cafe and talk sports, business, life etc... Many cafe's will be playing the football game. Usually they stand at bar but occasionally they will sit at the bar or sit at a table. The barista's usually are not kids, rather they are older men that have done this for years and have the status of one that has perfected their craft. It is a very social affair and it is definitely not youth culture, rather there is a large age range. And don't forget the foozball table!

You could also hit up the search function for threads on people that have traveled to Italy and you may find snippets of what you are looking for.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,109
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 9:44am
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

that's a good idea.  In fact, it reminds me of a couple things I learned while traveling in Italy.  Like, milk based drinks are taken less and less as the day turns to night, and only very rarely at the end of a meal.  I have to also say, that I don't remember being served anything but excellent espresso.  We were there 2 weeks...visited Milan, Lake Como, Florence, Venice, the Piedmont and several small towns along our routes between these places...and I had at least two or three a day.  Heck, even the espresso in the gas stations along the autostrada (itallian freeway) was better than most of the stuff here in the states.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 1:35pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

It's interesting you mention all this because what spurred this quest on was when I visited a cafe, called Abruzzo on Vancouver's Commercial Drive. It was indeed a Little Italy district. The barista was a middle-aged woman with a brand new two group Aurelia and a monstrous Mythos Plus grinder (which I almost acquired once for $150, but that's another story). She used the actual integrated tamper on the Mythos, so I figured that the gentle tamping, stockfleth, WDT fussiness was all third-wave or hobbyist stuff. Granted, this was my only experience with "real" Italian espresso culture, but the shot was delicious. We were the only people in there who were not old, speaking Italian, and watching football on the flatscreen. Because of this, I figured I had found the right place.
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013, 7:29am
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

Markarian Said:

so I figured that the gentle tamping, stockfleth, WDT fussiness was all third-wave or hobbyist stuff. Granted, this was my only experience with "real" Italian espresso culture, but the shot was delicious.

Posted February 25, 2013 link

Its only "hobbyist" stuff, because its american stuff.  And when I say American, I mean Third Wave.  Not the greasyhair hipster filled cafe third wave, no, when I say third wave I mean the push to focus on coffee quality above all else.  I may not be particularly pleased with this current third wave trend of super bright sour candy espresso that is usually anything but delicious, but I very much respect what these people are trying to accomplish.

American espresso, that is to say, GOOD american espresso, is almost a full 180 from italian espresso.  If you asked italian coffee drinkers what they thought of third wave espresso(doesnt matter what type..  super chocolate bomb Dolce from David Schomer, or super bright lemon juice from Sightglass), they would tell you that its a nice effort, but not espresso.  Espresso, to an italian, in Italy, is ingrained in their culture.  Its about more then how the coffee tastes, but rather the experience.  Meeting a friend at the bar for a quick shot and biscotti on lunch break and catching up on old times.  Stopping for a shot in the morning and finally being able to relax for a second after a hectic morning of getting the kids up and out the door.  The pure act of going to have an espresso, is just as enjoyable and common place, as having the espresso itself.

Cappucinio is stricly a morning time beverage.  After 10am, its not a drink italians reach for.  Cafe Latte is an american invention, and usually if you order one in at a bar in Italy, the barista, and any patrons listening, while chuckle to themselves, "heh, tourist".  The only people who drink such things are old women, children, and american tourists.  In Italy.  Here in America, the big gulp latte is the staple of a metropolitan businessman or womans diet :)



Cafes here in America often times serve espresso the tradtional way, which is, in a demi, on a saucer, with a spoon, and a water or sparkling water back.  Though, sadly, even tho the spoon is included, you're looked down upon for adding sugar at many "hipster hangouts".  Then again, you wash your hair, they dont.

In Italy it is similar.  Usuallyua piece of choclate or biscotti comes on the saucer as well, and Ive ever seen in some places the barista will add sugar to the drink for you..  though that is not the norm.  Also, you can get a good shot almost anywhere.  But thats the kicker.  99% of the espresso you'll drink in Italy will be "Good."  1% or less will be excellant.  In America, we have 99% GARBAGE, and 1% Flippin Amazing.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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