Italian Coffee: Blends Have More Fun

November 16, 2010

Italy, France, Vienna….If you feel that surfing through ROASTe.com is a little like taking a tour of regions throughout the world, but you never were given the map - or, that you recognize the names of places but can’t quite figure how to get there - because geography was the class in which you texted or wrote notes to friends, or slept… don’t worry. At ROASTe, our explanations are much less painful than geography class.


The roast, bean quality, and coffee origin are three important factors affecting the taste and enjoyment of your cup. Roast names given to coffee can reflect its geographical origin or refer to the style of roasting utilized by the roaster. For some coffee experts, the geographical roasts can be broken down into seven groups from the lightest to the darkest. New England, American and Viennese are the lightest, followed by French, Espresso, Italian and Dark French (aka Spanish, Turkish, or Neapolitan). In ROASTe.com terms, Light is used for New England and American, Medium for Viennese and Dark for the rest.


Though coffee didn’t originate with the Italians, and in fact none is actually grown there, they contributed the ambiance and romantic culture associated with the Italian coffee experience, and of course, the addition of milk. They also contributed a range of roasts and are experts at blending. Their roast in general falls on the darker side of medium, but even within the Italians, northern roasts are lighter and tend to use Arabica beans, while those in the south are darker and use in part the cheaper Robusta beans. As a result, we taste a more pungent caramel-ly sweetness for the northern, and a slightly more bitter than sweet taste in the southern, sometimes with even a bit of charred (aka smoky) flavor. The southern style are the Italians that get together well with milk mixed in, as in cappuccino.  Most of ROASTe’s Italians are blends, a few blending Arabica only, and others reflecting the best of both north and south. In America, what we know as Italian is mostly the southern style and the blend, so the ROASTe selections won’t disappoint. Also, our Italians are designated as either medium or dark roasted; the mediums are more like the northern style.


By the way -just for fun - in Italy, it’s a no-no to have cappuccino after 11-ish, as it’s a breakfast thing.  After that, you can order a little milk foam added, such as a caffé con latte (coffee with milk), but not the drinks featuring equal parts coffee to milk. Indeed, authentic Italian coffee lovers drink their coffee in small cups, at lukewarm temperatures because they swallow the whole thing fast rather than in sips. In America, do whatever tastes good to you.


Our ground Italian coffees may be suitable for most kinds of coffeemaker preparations. The French press is one favorite indispensable coffeemaker which works well with most coffees, including Italians. This week we’re featuring a great gift set which includes the French press and some Italian coffee everyone’s sure to love.

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