A brief History of our Italian Coffee from Moka to Espresso and beyond
The classic “na tazzulella e café“ (literally: a little cup of coffee) is an important part of the inalienable Italian and Neapolitan lifestyle, typical food and drinking heritage from generations.
Coffee was mainly introduced to Europe from Egypt through the Italian city of Venice, where a flourishing trade between the local businessmen and Arabs enabled a large variety of commodities and goods to be imported. Merchants sold coffee to the wealthy in Venice, charging them greatly for the privilege of drinking this exciting new beverage!
At the beginning of the eighteenth century Neapolitan were between the largest adopters in Italy to drink the coffee, creating a great tradition of it. In the nineteenth century the consumption of coffee became very popular thanks to the invention of the “Neapolitan Coffee Maker” (in Neapolitan dialect Cuccumella) which takes its name from the beautiful and sunny Naples.
The first coffee maker was built in 1691 by Du Belloy, originally made of aluminum and then gradually replaced by various materials to arrive today to “Moka Coffee Maker”, in Italy there are still so many people who enjoy to prepare coffee the Italian way with a Moka coffee maker as for example in Campania region, famous for respecting such ancient traditions.
With the introduction of the espresso machine in 1884 the Neapolitans literally became masters in the art of brewing espresso and there is so much to learn about the different ways to prepare it.
Historically most Italian coffee is brewed strong, and fast in the form of espresso, which is why this country developed various delicious milk based coffees such as cappuccino and latte. A funny fact: the idea to develop this type of coffee was not due to the research of superior taste, but an 18th Century Italian businessman who aimed to reduce the time his workers spent on their morning coffee break. Based on this, a lever driven machine was developed to force water through tightly packed ground coffee, incidentally creating a stronger more aromatic brew and intense flavor.
This household ritual was used in many Italian films, with our great Eduardo De Filippo, Toto, Alberto Sordi who made the history of Italian Movies.
Also many Italian singers have made of the coffee cup a great Italian success just remembering our loved Fabrizio De Andrè with “Don Raffae“, Pino Daniele with “na tazzulella e caffé,” Alex Britti with “7000 caffé”, Fiorella Mannoia “Caffé Nero Bollente”, Del Turco and Antoine with “Cosa hai messo nel caffè?”.
What makes it so famous? According to the most, the “trick” lies in excellent water, but in reality, the real secret is in the special “Neapolitan mix” and in its roasting. When roasted, it will be “cooked to perfection”, the coffee will take on its typical dark color and its aromas will be fully loaded. And here what it makes the difference, the ability to maneuver the espresso machine so well to obtain a good creamy, not burned, and healthy drink: the typical strong coffee Neapolitan.
The influence Italians have made on coffee throughout world has continued from the 17th Century through the tradition of high quality espresso coffee. We see the constant recreation of the stylish, attractive, and relaxing environment of the Italian cafes and classic Italian renditions of coffee served everywhere in the world. Why? A great Coffee is always the perfect fit!
Italian coffee simply represents – in Italy and abroad – a symbol at the root of our Italian culture. Neapolitans do it better!!!! 🙂
Posted by Nicoletta and Tiziana