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How do you duplicate the coffee?

New Lenox, IL
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How do you duplicate the coffee?

I can't believe how good the coffee was in Italy. At home in the U.S. I buy freshly roasted beans from a small roaster, have a Techni-Vorn drip machine and grind my beans every day. I also have a cheap espresso maker. I can not come any where close to duplicating the coffee in Italy. What am I missing? In Venice and Tuscany his coffee was dark and rich with out any bitterness. Do they use different beans or machines or what? Thanks!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

A real head of steam pressure on a professional espresso machine and really good coffee beans. Drip coffee doesn't come close.

With good coffee, one of those little stove top Bialetti espresso machines does a pretty good job.

Edited: 12 October 2011, 07:06
Montreal
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2. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

North American roasters often burn the coffee, i.e., roast it too long. Instead of your local coffee, buy one of the better packaged Italian brands, Lavazza Qualita Oro, for example. (Illy is a widely available premium brand, but I personally don't think it's worth the difference in price.) It also comes as beans, but I suggest you buy it ground, at least to start. Use your espresso maker; you can't make espresso in a drip machine. If it comes closer to what you remember, invest in a good espresso machine. Bars in Italy of course use professional machines, but there are some very good home machines out there. Don't buy one that uses pods; it's a senseless "convenience".

CA
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3. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

If you wish to be a serious coffee geek, besides getting some better equipment you should consider roasting your own beans. This way you can roast as light or as dark as you wish. Google "green coffee beans" and you should be able to find some good sources as well as forums. If you need or want more info, send me a PM. FYI, I've been roasting my own coffee for about six or seven years now.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

I also recall someone telling me long ago, that even the water can make a difference but from everything else I have read/gleaned - it is the roasting of the beans and the type of machine.

I have a friend who has one that cost a fortune and I have to say, it does make the best I have ever had anywhere outside of Italy. If I could afford one of those machines, I'd get it. I stopped ordering them here in restaurants (either cappuccino or espresso) because it is always disappointing - as Zerlina noted, it often has the over roasted taste to it and the milk is never the way I like it.

I have one that I hoped would be better than it is - it is hard to get the crema just the way I like it and I love the milk creamy vs frothy - which my friend's machine manages to pull off, while mine makes it more frothy.

And - the other thing is the caffeine content. I can (and often do) drink three or more cappuccinos every morning in Italy (I only have one cup here at home every day) - and I never get the caffeine buzz in Italy, which is great because I love getting the flavor without the caffeine overload. I usually also have an espresso late at night after a meal which I can never do at home and sleep fine. Mystery to me.

Someone told me that had to do with their roasting but I don't know how that would work - but, I know zero about roasting coffee.

Montreal
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5. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

MomCat, I've read that the caffeine buzz depends on the type and origin of the beans. Robusta coffee grown in sub-Saharan Africa has more caffeine (and is cheaper) than arabica coffee, originally grown on the Arabian peninsula where the Italians presumably first got coffee. I think most Colombian coffee is also arabica.

Montreal
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6. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

P.S. I drink four cups of cappuccino made with Lavazza Qualita Oro every morning - without caffeine buzz. On the other hand, there was a cafe in Rome that I liked where I often had two or three cups. One year I went back, the ownership had changed, and after two cups my nerves were ajangle. They must have changed to a cheaper brand made with robusta coffee.

Naperville, Illinois
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7. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

I think you will never have coffee that tastes as good as that in Italy, because you are NOT in Italy. Everthing tastes better there. LOL :)

New York City, New...
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8. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

I have the arabica beans but, still - I have tried many different shops here in NYC and it is true, when I use the Illy (which I too think is not worth additional price) and some others, I do not get the zap of caffeine but the other thing that is different is the milk.

Oh well - when I get there in (let's see, 12 days from now...), I will do more personal research on the subject - happily.

Montreal
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9. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

Getting milk to the right consistency has many factors: I think most bars in Italy use partly skimmed milk (I use 2% and get a dense foam rather than a froth), the machine (mine is not top-of-the-line super-expensive) and technique (watch them in Rome and practice, practice, practice).

Cartersville...
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10. Re: How do you duplicate the coffee?

Lavazza Qualita Oro coffee and a La Pavoni espresso maker like this one:

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS451US451&q=la+pavoni+espresso&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=10165892564857303538&sa=X&ei=SB-WTv-wK4rk0QGwvdzYBw&ved=0CFcQ8wIwAQ#

Actually bought our La Pavoni in Florence a decade ago (it's brass and maybe copper instead of stainless steel)....220v plug and Italian electrical prongs and all. Bought it in a housewares store, then popped into an Italian hardware store, bought an outlet to fit the prongs and when we got home hubby made a 220v electrical outlet especially for it in our kitchen. Pretty sure you can buy it 110v with US plug, but for us, it was "the principle" . It has been one of our most memorable purchases--even carrying it down the street in Florence after we bought it, people who walked past us saw it sticking out of the bag and remarked (smiling) "Ah, La Pavoni!"