Nov 30, 2013

How to enjoy Italian coffee like a local

Italians are regimented about their caffè. Neapolitans won't drink espresso other than on their turf, deeming anything else served outside their city as vile and toxic Espresso brewers throughout the country perform absurd propitiatory rituals to ensure their post-prandial Joe is just right. Some never wash the stovetop moka pot to conserve flavor in the hardware parts. Others add a grain of rock salt in the water boiler. All will tell you never, ever to pat down the coffee powder in the filter. Cappuccino fundamentalists insist on not drinking any after 11 a.m., and especially after meals, when caffè rules.

Beyond the simple espresso comes a whole universe of choices. The number of ways Italians enjoy the concentrated beverage brewed by forcing very hot water under high pressure through coffea Arabica beans that have been ground to a fine powder is at once finite and endless. Here's an alphabetical shortlist of common espresso-based bar beverages.

Affogato translates to "drowned." This is a shot of brewed espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla gelato commonly served as a dessert in restaurants, though some fancy bars and cafes with magnanimous baristas will sometimes dish it out over the counter...

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