International Coffee Day is almost upon us – an entire 24 hours dedicated to celebrating one of the world’s favourite drinks. There’s nothing quite like a good cup of coffee and us Brits love nothing more than whiling away the hours over a steaming cup of the stuff. Coffee is an integral part of the Italian way of life too, but certain customs must be adopted when enjoying a cup on your travels to Italy. Forget languishing over a latte for hours, Italians take their coffee seriously and you’re more likely to blend in with the locals if you knock back a shot of espresso, standing up at the bar.
With so much to learn, we enlisted Marcel Ottoy from The Fresh Coffee Company to help us decipher Italian coffee etiquette and ensure we don’t stick out like a sore thumb on our next Italy holiday. Just as importantly, Marcel also showed us how to continue to enjoy great coffee at home – no fancy and expensive coffee machines needed here!
As espresso is synonomous with Italy, this was the first lesson in our coffee education. Even to a complete novice it seemed obvious that the beans themselves are what make for a great espresso. However, the look, smell and even the texture are all important signifiers for identifying fresh, good quality beans.
Here Marcel shows us how to make a satisfying espresso and what exactly you should be looking for when choosing and grinding the coffee beans yourself.
After returning from your holiday to Italy (or perhaps setting the scene before you jet off on your next adventure), try making an authentic cup of Italian coffee at home. Forget dropping several hundred pounds on a machine with more bells and whistles than you know what to do with, good coffee can be made with very simple, and often inexpensive, kit.
In our second video, Marcel demonstrates three ways to make coffee at home using a cafetiere, coffee capsules and the traditional moka pot. Each method has its own benefits and Marcel offers insider tips to ensure you get the very best results.
Find out more about Italian coffee customs in our guide to drinking coffee like the Italians. With thanks to The Fresh Coffee Company and Cullenders Delicatessen & Kitchen for their help in putting these videos together.
Image source: Alpha via Flickr
This post was originally published on 20 March, 2015.