An Espresso Caffè is the most important Italian coffee and the base of all-Italian milk coffees. An espresso coffee is the well-know name in Australia for a “short black”.
Throughout Italy’s “bars” (a traditional cafè in Italy), the espresso caffè coffee is simply called “un caffè”.
A Barista (the coffee maker) is responsible for 50% of the coffee/beverage made, 25% is the coffee machine and 25% is the coffee itself. The Barista must make sure the coffee machine is running properly, and that the coffee is fresh and ground correctly for brewing.
It is crucial that the espresso caffè is made perfectly and there is an art to doing this correctly.
It is essential that an espresso coffee always be presented with a rich, golden-brown top layer known in Italian as the “crema”. The coffee should also be syrup-like in appearance. To achieve this concentrated brew, the Barista must prepare the coffee accordingly and the extraction time is about 20 seconds or so. This coffee is served in a demitasse cup (small thick porcelain cup for coffee), or a small shot glass and is usually about 50mls in volume.
Un Caffè or an Espresso is a quintessential part of Italian culture and an average coffee would never be accepted (by a customer), in a Bar in Italy!
Un Ristretto Caffè, is a very traditional and regional espresso coffee. It is similar to “un caffè” (as above) but shorter or less in volume and much more concentrated and therefore stronger in flavour and taste. It is a very short, shot of coffee (about 25mls or so) and is served in a demitasse cup. In Naples, the heart of great espresso coffee, this is very popular in the morning, after meals or at social events.