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TheMonk
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Joined: 9 Dec 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Dec 11, 2008, 1:38pm
Subject: Coffee in Italy
 

To all:

HELP!  I will be traveling to Rome in the next two weeks (my first time overseas) and am looking forward to experiencing a new world of coffee.  If anyone can please provide some tips on how to order, what should I try if I get the chance, anything to be careful of, etc.  I appreciate your input.  Thanks!

- Jonathan
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roastaroma
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roastaroma
Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 438
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

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Posted Thu Dec 11, 2008, 2:02pm
Subject: Re: Coffee in Italy
 

Ciao Jonathan,

In Rome, espresso freaks end up at Sant'Eustachio eventually:

Click Here (www.davidlebovitz.com)

Sounds cool, but you can get great spro just about anywhere in Italia without spending a fortune. It's supposed to be cheap!

Hints about Italian tradition, to avoid looking like a rube:

1) Coffee drinks are intended for different times of the day. Traditionally, you take cappuccino with breakfast, macchiato for the mid-morning, & from noon onwards, straight espresso. Like all things, this custom is changing gradually.

2) The word "latte" means just "milk" to them -- our latte (or flat white) is not on most Italian coffee menus, so don't ask for it. On my first trip to Venice I asked for a latte and got a glass of hot milk. D'OH!

Note that not all coffee in Italy is as fresh or high quality as what we're used to with artisan roasters. For ex., if there's a Lavazza sign in the window, lower your expectations. Also, they often do not use 100% Arabica blends, and blends with Robusta can be a little harsh on the palate. Hence the popular use of zucchero (sugar).

Buona Fortuna,
Wayne

 
"Non la macchina, la mano."
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TheMonk
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Joined: 9 Dec 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Dec 12, 2008, 6:52am
Subject: Re: Coffee in Italy
 

Wayne

That's a huge help.  Is Italy more or less an espresso nation; will I be able to get a good cup of drip or press?  Forgive me if this question is not posed correctly, I'm new to the world coffee outside Starbucks and the local gas station and still trying to learn.  Thanks again!

Jonathan
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mannyr
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Joined: 29 Apr 2007
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Posted Fri Dec 12, 2008, 8:55am
Subject: Re: Coffee in Italy
 

Jonathan:

Just got back from a week in rome and florence, so here are my two euros.

It is true that Italians are very specific about what they drink at what time of day. What really surprised me is that in a country that has such a caffe vixation, most of what you will get is very fair. If you drink it in a caffee latte or cappucino, the addition of the steamed milk makes these quite tasty. However, I have had much better espresso in the US than in most cafes in Italy. Part of that may be the fact that most Italian blends use a large amount of robusto. But what you have to look at is the whole package. The experience of drinking your little cup of caffe (espresso) next to an Italian while standing at a little bar in rome or florence can't be beat.

also note that the Italians think americans like watered down coffee. most of the coffee you will have at your hotel will be unpalatable unless you ask them to make you a caffe or cappucino with breakfast. hope this helps and have a great trip

aj
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tadaoo
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tadaoo
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Posted Fri Dec 12, 2008, 9:18am
Subject: Re: Coffee in Italy
 

best shot i had in rome was at Tazza d'Oro, next to the pantheon...
best shot i ever had, actually...

working on my silvia to reproduce that standard... got to get the right blend too... (they use a blend of arabicas only)
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roastaroma
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roastaroma
Joined: 21 Nov 2007
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: PV Lusso, Bacchi
Grinder: Rocky Doserless
Roaster: Blue Bottle Coffee
Posted Fri Dec 12, 2008, 9:54am
Subject: Re: Coffee in Italy
 

mannyr Said:

also note that the Italians think americans like watered down coffee. most of the coffee you will have at your hotel will be unpalatable unless you ask them to make you a caffe or cappucino with breakfast.

Posted December 12, 2008 link

That reminds me, the Italians have what they call a Caffe Americano, which is a shot of espresso diluted with hot water -- the Americano can be quite good when you feel like something like presspot or drip coffee. All bets are off when it comes to hotel coffee, btw; they're the most likely to use super-automatics (ick).

For some reason, the Pantheon neighborhood in Rome is noted for its exceptional coffeeshops (NB: espresso is also typically served in bars). The locals say it's because of their water, which is supposed to be very pure.

Buon Viaggio,
Wayne

 
"Non la macchina, la mano."
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TheMonk
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Joined: 9 Dec 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Dec 14, 2008, 2:59pm
Subject: Re: Coffee in Italy
 

Thanks to everyone who has submitted information.  I'll be posting my experiences as soon as I return.

Best

Jonathan
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TheMonk
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jan 8, 2009, 8:12am
Subject: Re: Coffee in Italy
 

Ciao Everyone

I just arrived back in the States this past Monday night.  Italy is indeed an espresso nation.  Here's a curious note, I was on this trip with monks from a local monastery and we stayed in a monastery while in Rome.  We had some awful drip, as AJ said might be the case, in the morning from a large vat (the need for caffeine over ruled good sense of taste, however).  For pronzo and supper there was available a standard size urn full of espresso.

Whomever said that good espresso was available everywhere was correct.  We spent a couple of days traveling to the mountains in Nursia and Monte Cassino and stopped for breakfast on the way at an Autogrill, effectively a standard road-side service station as on the turnpike.  Excellent croissants, cappucino, and espresso.  At least according to my as yet undeveloped taste buds.

Thank you all for your input, I was at ease ordering and knowing what I was receiving, when and how to consume it.  If there are any questions please ask.

Jonathan
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