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Can the Italians Standardise Coffee?

Espresso According to the Telegraph, the Italians are so offended by the quality of espressos in European cafes that they are trying to set out a golden standard for their favourite drink. The Telegraph writes:

Marco Lion, the head of Italy’s parliamentary agriculture commission, is worried that the “true identity of Italian coffee” could be lost because, he says, many cafes in Europe do not have the faintest idea how to make a good cup.

Espressos must be “of a hazelnut hue with ornate flourishes of red and a smokiness that creates a uniform tiger-stripe pattern”.

Meanwhile, the “crema”, which sits on top, must be like a “tight sweater, with very fine bubbles, if at all, and of a height of between two and four millimetres”.

…and… “There is only one true and authentic way to make a cappuccino, but for some reason there appear to be myriad types sold in cafes,” he said.

I have to say I agree with his concerns. The purist in me hates the drift to ever bigger drinks, hotter drinks, less care given by baristas under severe time pressure, and style over substance. One would like to think a fight back by the Italians might help solve things, but somehow I doubt it, especially since the cappuccino in the Telegraph’s photo is all about latte art. Poor Signor Lion would have palpitations if he saw it…

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3 Responses to “Can the Italians Standardise Coffee?”

  1. October 7th, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    lorraine@italianfoodies says:

    I’m beginning to lose faith myself, everyday our sales of 12oz latte and cappucino just grow and grow!!

  2. October 7th, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Tracey says:

    Couldn’t y’all just label the coffees as either *Authentic*, meaning prepared and served the way it ought to be and then like I dunno “Un-Authentic” for all the piping hot, burnt tastin’loving coffee drinkers. Then they’ll be forced to say “I’ll have an ultra large Un-authentic coffee to go please.” and slowly but surely they’ll be embarrassed in to ordering the real thing, just so they can belong to the *in* group who orders *Authentic* coffee…muahh ahh ahhh. I have to admit all this talk about proper temps and being a coffee purist makes me wonder am I drinking coffee? Or coffee wanna-be? Seriously if you don’t know a barista you trust or a neat little coffee shop that serves perfect coffee how would you know if you’re drinking coffee the right way? I’m being serious here. If I’m missing out on something I want to try it the right way, the best way, the way that makes coffee taste the absolute yummiest it can be. We make coffee at home with a “Bialetti “Venus” Stove Top Espresso Maker”. It’s pretty tasty but am I missing something?

  3. October 7th, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Alan says:

    On a related note, why boil the goodness out of your milk either. If you ever try a latte with raw cream or even raw milk, you won’t want to use pastuerized milk again. Pastuerization basically means heating the milk until nothing harmful can live in it (assuming there is something harmful in it to begin with), but also means destroying the beneficial bacteria and nutrients.

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Kieran Murphy is a director of Murphys Ice Cream living in Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland.

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Murphys Ice Cream has shops in Dingle, Killarney and Dublin 2 (Wicklow Street).