According to Italian coffee icon Illy, shape matters when brewing your espresso and who better than Alessi, an icon of Italian design to interpret the new shape of the traditional moka pot. The Alessi designed, Illy inspired “Pulcina” espresso coffee maker is boastfully described to improve and enhance the “organoleptic properties of coffee” because of its curvaceous shape.
Pulcina’s full-bodied shape enhances the full-bodied and rounded aroma of the coffee because of the internal shape of its special heater. Based on the special shape of the boiler , Illy has identified the ideal shape that the water boiler should take to produce the perfect cup of coffee while automatically stopping the filtering of the coffee at the right moment. This interruption helps to eliminate the eruption phase (called in the world of Italian coffee ‘the Stromboli Effect’ or the seepage of foam from the coffee) the final filtering stage that generates a burnt and bitter aftertaste, ensuring that only the finest qualities of the coffee are preserved.
Michele De Lucchi, Pulcina’s architect of design, even considered the coffee maker’s spout. A pronounced pout with a ‘V’ shape, reminiscent of a baby chick’s beak, hence the name pulcina. The spout is specially designed to perfectly cut the drops into your Illy designed cup.
Cappuccino at the Lodole Country House
Nei dettagli. Into the details. Let’s get into the details of making the perfect cappuccino. First you must begin with good coffee beans correctly roasted and packed. Illy, one of the world’s largest producers of Italian espresso, offers a blend made up of 9 varieties of Arabica beans for your pursuit of the perfect cappuccino.
Then there is the making. Mastering the 4 M’s of Making a Good Espresso results is a concentrate of not more than 30 ml (one oz) of pure sensorial pleasure. You will need about 25ml of espresso for the perfect cappuccino. Next the details of the milk; chilled milk in metal pitcher with the proper pouring performance. Frothing the milk to the proper temperature (150 ºF -160 ºF), inserting the steam wand at the proper angle (diagonal, just below the surface of the milk) and moving it deeper into the milk at just the right moment to create the proper foam can be daunting.
If all goes well you will have made a proper cappuccino which according to Illy’s Università del Caffè should be about 150ml, containing one espresso coffee and equal parts of steamed milk and froth. To me making a proper cappuccino is about the simple fact that Italians care about the particulars, the collective attention needed to accomplish a task at its highest level of enjoyment. Seeking perfection in the art of the everyday, bothered by the devilish details.
Italian spelling slip ups happen all the time but perhaps the most egregious is the misspelling of espresso. A word that has become part of the common human vernacular and found millions of times in print is listed as one of the top 25 words/phrases that are routinely said wrong. Weird Al Yankovic among others consider it to be a Word Crime that we should be held accountable for. After all we don’t say “ex-PESH-uh-lee”, do we?
The espresso bean has been enhanced, romanced and restyled into almost every aspect of our lives. You can find it in food (Black Bean and Espresso Chili), wine (Barista Pinotage), art and design and the machines that make it have become haute couture. Espresso accessories range from barista tools including chic knock out boxes for espresso grounds to the sleek design of pod carousels.
However the one espresso expression that caught our eye this week is the John Lennon Coffee Case Cover for the IPhone 5 C.
Italian artist Giuseppe Colarusso takes everyday objects and makes them into things that appear impossible. His collection Improbabilita asks you think outside of the box, way outside the box. Strange and quirky – usual items become highly unusual through his photo manipulated mind’s eye.
He combines incongruous parts and pieces that seem unlikely to go together yet are artistically appealing. From an interlocking trio of Euros to a canned espresso.
Nuova Simonelli, an Italian company with a global presence in 109 countries worldwide, has been chosen to supply professional espresso machines for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Russia is a booming market for Nuova Simonelli. At the beginning of October the company sponsored a barista training course in Moscow and were welcomed by the Russians who have been showing a greater interest in Italian coffee bars and espresso in particular.
Nuova Simonelli is not new to the Olympic spirit. In the winter of 2010 Nuova Simonelli partnered with Illy to bring the culture of coffee to the Vancouver Winter Olympics. This year espresso enthusiasts will have a choice of venues that serve a high voltage shot of espresso brewed with professional Made in Italy machines.
The history of coffee in the US military is long-standing. Throughout the years American soldiers have made a hot cup of coffee a daily ritual on and off the battlefield. During WWII, a strong demand for coffee by U.S. troops lead to such a shortage that Americans at home were subject to coffee rationing. Although American soldiers stationed in Italy during the Second World War were issued instant coffee from Maxwell House in their ration kits, they much preferred a Cafe Americano, the Italian version of their cup of Joe. Italian baristas found that adding hot water to espresso came close to the taste of drip coffee that the American GI’s were used to.
The Italian soldiers as always and forever still relied on their espresso as evidenced by this Vintage Italian Air Force coffee cup intended for use in the Officer’s dining halls of the Italian Air Force circa 1960.
Each piece bears the logo of the Aeronautica Militare – the Air Force of the Italian Republic.