Too full after a delicious meal at Via Appia? Then you should better do as the italians: skip dessent in favour of an aromatic cup of coffee to stimulate digestion and end your lunch or dinner on a good note.
It would be hard to think of Italy without coffee. After all it is the national breakfast and the home to coffee drinks that have taken the rest of the world by storm. Without Italy, Starbucks would not exist and without coffee, Italy would grind to a halt. No, coffee was not invented in Italy but coffee culture as we know it did originate here. Today Italy is a country of coffee aficionados who will not tolerate (or visit) an establishment that has bad coffee. But, what makes Italian coffee so special?
Good beans make good coffee, it is that simple. But to make great coffee it takes a master to blend and roast the beans properly. Italian coffees use mainly the Arabica variety of coffee bean, known for its full flavor and low caffeine content. However depending upon the region and particular tastes, the stronger and caffeine rich Robusta beans are blended with Arabica. The blends of the south tend to have more Robusta content in their blends which makes for a stronger espresso.
Unlike French roast coffees, which are dark and very oily, Italian roast coffee is a rich brown color and should have very little or no oil on the beans. Roasting time depends upon the blend as Robusta beans need to be roasted longer than Arabica blends. The coffee roaster is a master craftsman that must treat each batch according to the beans being used, taking great care not to roast too long or too hot. A darker roast does not always mean a better espresso and so the roaster must keep a careful eye on the beans during the process since they can burn in the blink of an eye. Once perfectly roasted the beans are allowed to air cool, this allows the beans to retain their flavor until they are ground for brewing.