Thank you Italy, for contributing to the world the purest and strongest form of coffee -espresso. When coffee first arrived at Italian ports it was considered that thing the Muslims' drink until Pope Clement VIII tried it and claimed that something so good must certainly be God’s work. Shortly after, the pope famously baptized the coffee and soon coffee became the Italian staple we know these days.
There’s plenty of ways to make coffee, but the Italian way always starts with freshly brewed espresso. Traditionally, it is drunk straight black and strong, but options are endless. Here is a list of everything you can do with your Italian espresso.
Pro-tip: fine grounds are the best for espresso. If you are starting with ground beans, make sure to grind them as fine as possible, this is the ideal way, but if all you have is ground coffee, you can give it an extra grind. Or simply look for the espresso label in your coffee. This one should do!
Macchiato: Espresso + Milk foam.
The amount can remain to taste, but it is meant to be more espresso than milk foam. The milk foam should just be a splash to help with the acidity and strength of the espresso.
Affogato: Espresso + Vanilla ice cream
This is a summer favorite, but it is acceptable year round. Flavored ice cream may work as well, some of my favorites include moose tracks, cookie dough, or vanilla ice cream with brownie bites. To make it extra special, simply serve a warm brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and pour some hot espresso on top.
Espresso con Panna: Espresso + Whipped cream
Panna simply means cream, so in short, this is coffee with cream. Just like the milk foam, this is meant to be a simple splash that helps with the coffee's strength and acidity, and can be done to taste, but if you truly want to make it right, never let the cream or panna overpower the coffee.
Americano: Espresso + Hot water
Ironically, this is how Italians labeled what Americans tend to do with espresso. Simply add water and make it seem like your average brew. The good news is that the flavor is stronger than brewed coffee as the espresso process brings out a more bold and intense flavor.
Flat White: Espresso + Steamed Milk
This one usually carries more steamed milk than espresso, and is one of the most popular drinks in Australia.
Caffe Latte: Espresso + Milk foam + Steamed Milk
A classic. The most practical way to do it is to put in the blender some steamed milk and espresso. While blending in high, the milk foam will form by itself. Usually coffee shops and refined coffee consumers have a special milk frother wand that can create foam in seconds.
Cappuccino: Espresso + Milk Foam + Steamed Milk
This may feel like Deja vu, because it is basically the same ingredients from the latte, but the difference here is that you should add only a splash of steamed milk. Most of the dairy should come from the milk foam. The drink is usually topped with cinnamon.
Cafe Breve: Espresso + Steamed half and half + Milk foam
Picture a creamer latte. That’s exactly what this is, only that breve means short and it is in reference to the size of the drink. While you may serve yourself a full mug of latte, Cafe Breve is heavier due to the half and half and therefore half a mug is the proportionate serving.
Mocha: Espresso + Whipped cream + Chocolate Syrup + Steamed Milk
The history of this drink is quite interesting and you can read a bit about it right here. The recipe is pretty straight forward and it makes for a wonderful dessert.