Did you know that the Finnish consume the most amount of coffee each year? According to the International Coffee Organization via the BBC, per capita coffee consumption in Finland is 12.5kg. Yes, 12.5kg (aka 27.5 pounds) of coffee per person per year! Sweden comes in right behind Finland at around 11kgs (just over 24 pounds) per person.
In fact, Scandinavian/Nordic countries round out all of the top 5 spots (Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, respectively). I’d like to think that I’m doing my part to keep up the United States’s consumption, but alas the US doesn’t even make the top 20!
Affogato di caffe is probably the most amazing culinary delight in the coffee world. In Italy, it is served as a dessert. Here in America, it’s usually on the coffee beverage menu. Either way, it will make your taste buds very happy.
Literally translated, it means drowned in coffee. And what better to be drowned in coffee than gelato or ice cream. Of course you can get really fancy with it and add all sorts of toppings and flavorings, but my favorite way is just vanilla ice cream/gelato and espresso, like this one I found at Bucks On Bridge Coffee in Lambertville, NJ.
Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures or video of the assembly of one of the best affogatos I’ve had outside of Italy. Their vanilla ice cream was creamy and when paired with their rich espresso with caramel overtones*, the result was decadent.
*I believe their espresso had caramel overtones. It certainly did when paired with the ice cream, but did I think to do a tasting of the espresso first? Of course not, I was starstruck by the excitement of one of my most favorite pairings on the planet.
As the ice cream melted into the espresso, the last third of my concoction was reminiscent of a root beer float. I’m 100% certain I finished every.single.drop. and I may have licked the cup one brief second before I relinquishing it to the recycling bin…
It is generally accepted that the founding fathers of the wondrous espresso machine were Milanese inventors/manufacturers Luigi Bezzara, who patented his espresso machine in 1901, and Desidero Pavoni, who bought the patent from Bezzara 1903 and released his own machine in 1905.
However, it was actually Angelo Moriondo who holds the first patent for an espresso machine dating back to 1884. His bulk espresso machine was used to serve coffee at the Turin General Exposition in 1884–nearly 20 years before Bezzara and Pavoni.
It wasn’t originally my intention to make this entire month about espresso, but that seems to be how it is working out and who am I to argue?
For today’s tasting, I have an Ethiopian coffee from Nespresso.
Now before we get to the tasting, let me introduce you to Riccardo, my De’Longhi Nespresso machine (yes, I’m one of those annoying people who love to name inanimate objects, like kitchen appliances). Mainly I’m telling you this because this means whenever I’m tasting espresso from home, I am using Riccardo with the original Nespresso capsules–or as I like to call them: the non-dome ones.
According to Nespresso their Ethiopa espresso is:
Made with dry processed Arabica beans
Intensity Level: 4 (of 10)
Roastiness: 2 (of 5)
Acidity: 4 (of 5)
Bitterness: 2 (of 5)
Body: 2 (of 5)
Aromatic Profile: Flowery & Bright
Aromatic Notes: Flowery
Smells: sweet, like honeysuckle or orange blossom
Tastes: bright, acidic, with overtones of lemon but as it cools overtones have less citrus and more caramel
Finishes: smooth with a sweet lemon taste that disperses quickly
Overall, this is a very smooth and delicious espresso. It is on the lighter side and tastes sweet. Personally I wish it were just a tiny bit stronger to increase the body and mouthfeel just a tad. If you are new to espresso and/or think all espressos are too dark/taste burned and/or looking for something lighter you can drink anytime, I highly recommend this one.
As I mentioned earlier this week, when one is visiting the Land of Espresso (aka Italy) it is hard not to imbibe in a cappuccino or twelve. If you do find yourself visiting Italy (and I highly recommend it) and want to blend in with the locals in the cafe, the key is to never order a cappuccino after 12pm. After that, espresso is king. However, don’t panic. Italian espresso is much smoother and milder than its American counterpart. And if you really need milk, you can always ask for a splash.
Cappuccinos aren’t my favorite way to drink coffee. Although I must confess when I lived in Australia, I did drink a fair few. These days, however, I prefer black coffee and only partake in cappuccinos every great once in awhile.
Unless I’m in Italy. And then, well, I’m partaking in them every.single.day.
Hands down the best cappuccino we had was on our last day in Rome. We were heading east to Montappone, but wanted to make a quick stop at a little market that was recommended to us so that we could stock up on snacks for the road trip—you know like salami, pecorino, and probably some of the most succulent tomatoes I’ve ever had in my life.
Conveniently located in the car park near the market was a tiny little cafe and the cappuccinos were, in a word, blissful.
The foam was so thick and creamy it clung to the spoon. The espresso smooth and not overpowering. It paired heavenly with a cream filled croissant. It was the perfect spot to say goodbye to Rome, while making us a bit sad to leave this little treasure of a place.
Thankfully we were on a tight schedule, otherwise we might have been tempted by these cappuccinos to extend our visit indefinitely.
Unfortunately, the cafe name I wrote down was not found on Google maps near the market we visited—so I will sacrifice myself to go back to Italy to get that name for you. That is how dedicated I am to bringing you the best coffee in the world 😉
In addition to reminiscing about my recent trip to Italy and one of the best cappuccinos I have ever had, I wanted share with you the format that I plan to use in my tastings.
For Espresso Drinks, I am ultimately discussing whether or not I recommend the cafe by taking you through the flavor & smoothness of the espresso, the creaminess & consistency of the milk (if applicable) and any food pairings (see example above).
For Brewed Coffee, my tastings will be a lot more in-depth. I will be exploring the country of origin of the beans, roasting level, brew method, flavor and tastes of the coffee, and food items that would compliment the coffee.
I know this sounds a bit excessive, especially in comparison to my tasting notes on espresso drinks. However, bean origins, roasting level, and brew method all have a huge impact on extracting certain flavors from a cup of coffee. Changing any of these can yield a completely different cup of coffee, as I will be discussing several in several posts later with side by side comparisons of brew methods.
There is a lot to know about coffee and it’s easy to overlook something. If you feel this is the case and I’m missing something, please let me know in the comments below.