What does it take to make a good espresso? According to various sources in the know it depends on the 4 M’s and it takes just one discordant stroke to disrupt the perfect harmony found in a good cup of espresso.
M # 1 Macchina, the espresso machine. A stable pressure and exact temperature are needed for the best possible extraction.
M # 2 Macinazione, the proper, uniform grinding of the beans. The size of the particle affects the brewing and extraction process. I leaned early on to invest in a good grinder . According to Ernesto Illy, president of Illycaffe’, the espresso grind should feel like fine sand, smooth to the touch. Slightly finer than granulated sugar.
M# 3 Miscela, the proper blend or mix. Classic Italian blends like Illy or Lavazza are crafted to deliver a chocolate or caramel flavored espresso with soft nutty tones. Colored chocolate to a darker chocolate color blends produce an full-bodied espresso with some sweetness that is not overly bitter. Lighter roasts can be suitable for espresso if done properly. Consider what you like. Remember that the quality of water can influence the flavors of the blend so be sure to use fresh filtered water when brewing.
M# 4 Mano, the skilled hand of the barista. Practice and passion, an understanding of the art and science behind the making of espresso are needed because even with the finest beans and the most advanced equipment, the shot depends on the touch and style of the maker.
The iconic Lavazza brand is once again partnering with Wimbledon as the official coffee of the world’s premier tennis event. Serving over a million cups of coffee court side since their initial partnership in 2011, the Lavazza purple and green again waves over the grass courts of Wimbledon curated by former chef, Neil Stubley. Leading one to think that coffee may be a contender to replace the more traditional beverages of Wimbledon – tea and Pimm’s Cup.
Once the drink of choice for British socialites, Pimm’s Cup had become the official drink of cricket matches, garden parties, polo, tennis and Wimbledon. Made with Pimm’s No. 1, a gin-based liquor created in 1859 by English oyster bar owner James Pimm, this aromatic-infused digestive tonic relies on a recipe that is still a secret (only six persons know exactly how it is made).
It shares this mystique with many other famous herbal liqueurs including Italy’s bitter-sweet aperitivo Campari whose formula has remained incognito for almost 150 years. Only nine people know parts of the formula. A tenth person, the company president, is the only one who knows the entire formula for mixing the 68 herbs, spices and wood barks involved.
For those of you who were wondering about the number 1. After the Second World War, the Pimm’s company extended into other spirit bases – Scotch for No. 2 cup, No. 3 brandy, No. 4 rum, No. 5 rye and No. 6 vodka. Only the vodka cup and brandy (now called Winter) remain in production with the original No. 1 cup still the most popular.
We’re thinking spring, we’re thinking green and we’re always thinking about espresso. So here are a few green espresso machines to remind us that the grass is growing, the flowers are blooming and this may be the summer to rent that beach house. Our selection includes stylish, green espresso machines by AEG and Lavazza , Ascaso and Espressione that makes Café Retro, an old world design combined with New Age features. Wouldn’t these espresso machines look good in that lake house kitchen?
When we think about the color of coffee we think about warm brown, deep rich chocolate or dark espresso but the birth of the bean begins green.
Green coffee beans arrive at the roasting facility in large burlap bags to begin a life changing process that will alter their taste, color and aroma making them into a world-wide cultural icon. When roasted, the green coffee beans expand and change in color, taste, smell, and density. Sugars begin to caramelize; colors begin to change from light to golden brown, to medium brown, dark chocolate then black. Science and art combine to bring the best characteristics out of each bean. Dark espresso roasts maximize the sweetness and aroma while minimizing the bitterness and acidity. Italian roasters like Lavazza and Illy seem to be able to coax the best of the beans creating a true metamorphosis.
Yes, you heard right, that’s just what Milan based Venezuelan designer Enrique Luis Sardi wants us to do. Sardi’s ingenious mind has come up with a way for us to have our cup and eat it too.
Collaborating with Italian coffee maestro, Lavazza, Sardi created a cookie coffee cup that you can eat when the drink is gone. Lined with a special icing sugar that works as an insulator making the cup waterproof and sweetening the drink at the same time, the pastry cup becomes an eco-conscious vessel for your brew. Lavazza known for being one of the most socially responsible companies in the coffee industry and Sardi’s passion for innovative design seem as perfectly matched as an espresso with a perfect crema.
According to the web site Country Facts, there are 20 million coffee purchasing families in Italy and 16 million of them drink Lavazza including most of my Italian family. But what about the other 4 million?
Other Italian top coffee brands like Illy and Segafredo Zanetti (noted to be the leading espresso producer in Italy) always seem to show up in or on my cup. Illy from Trieste, the Adriatic port town where coffee first entered Europe, is certainly favored with stylish coffee bars that serve everything from a cappuccino to a caprese. Illy’s efforts in transforming the simple porcelain coffee cup into a work of art (more than 70 contemporary masters have contributed designs to a series of collections) is branding genius.
With coffee drinking in Italy taking on the status of a national past time, espresso preferences border on sentiments that may be as strong as the Pazzi-Medici rivalry of the Renaissance which I think in retrospect could have been more reasonably settled over a cup of coffee.
I love espresso. I love Fiat. But do I love them both enough to option the in-car espresso kit on the new Fiat 500L. Expected to arrive in the U.S. beginning next year, the 5 passenger 500L offers an integrated Lavazza Coffee Experience Kit as part of its option package. Although the decision to offer the in-car espresso kit to the American market has not yet been made, it will be available to European buyers. The kit promises a fresh brewed true Italian espresso made in vehicle, no barista required.
Coffee loving motor-heads like the idea of having an “espresso to go” but those concerned about distracted driving think that this is taking convenience to the extreme. Fiat representatives report that the system could be used only when the car is stopped and that the machine has a docking station in which the system remains locked. To brew or not to brew may be the question the next time you’re out for a drive in your new Fiat 500L where we’re told the L stands for long . . . not Lavazza.