Espresso: Grounds for Celebration! - How to make the perfect cup -
For after dinner relaxing, coffee is a traditional choice.
If you aren't familiar with espresso - except for excursions out to Italian restaurants - next time try simple homemade espresso to add a festive note to any meal.
need espresso coffee to get the right taste. You can pick up pre-ground
espresso at most major grocery stores, or try the pre-measured
espresso pods. Lavazza or Moka d' Ora are the two most common
brands of pre-ground.
can also visit your favorite local coffee bean shop and pick out
the gourmet beans you like best. Espresso purists will say that
you'll need to use the beans freshly ground to get the full flavor.
The experts are right, but the pre-ground brands are very close
in taste and unless you intend to offer espresso to the experts,
the supermarket brands or espresso pods are fine.
a real espresso, you should have an espresso machine. A professional
espresso machine will cost upwards of $300. The pressurized water
being forced through the ground coffee is what makes a good espresso,
but a decent substitute can be prepared with your regular pot.
A modern espresso machine, left,
and the traditional Italian coffee
pot for making espresso, right.
With the traditional method, you will lose the crema, (that lighter colored frothy
layer that true espresso lovers enjoy), but the coffee itself will
be a strong dark brew that works well in recipes.
brewed this way is usually called Cafe Americano - because it
is closer to American coffee than real espresso. You can also
pick up a small metal Italian coffee pot which brews a pretty acceptable version of espresso - just
experiment a bit before you offer your guests a cup.
can be served plain, with bit of sugar, a twist of lemon peel
or it can be accompanied by sambuca, grappa, anisette or other
after dinner liqueurs.
served with lots of steamed milk is called cappuccino.
For macho coffee drinkers who prefer just a spoonful of milk,
it's called macchiato. Cappuccino is normally a morning
drink in Italy, but the rest of the world enjoys it any time of
word about lemon peels - if you order espresso in Italy, don't
ask for the lemon peel. It's an American innovation and Italians
think it ruins the coffee!