[Homeroast] Why is espresso in America so bad? Italian perspective

Tim TenClay teejtc at gmail.com
Wed Feb 24 12:17:56 CST 2016


I have some really mixed feelings about the article.  I spent 10 months in
Naples and now live in Palermo and, while I've certainly had some great
espresso here, it's typically ok.  Your average espresso here, is part
robusta, which isn't necessarily a bad thing (in general I'd say that
Italians have a more developed taste for bitter - in all things, not just
coffee - than Americans).

My sense is that, generally, their shots are too short and thus over-bitter
(although asking for a lungo often gets me a decent shot, even if they
think I'm crazy) and your average Italian over-sweetens to make up for it
(indeed, in many Neapolitan bars, they automatically sweeten your shot and
you have to be quite firm to prevent it).

He's right that they tend to be quick (which is great!) and that latte art
is almost (not completely, but almost) unheard of (which surprised me, when
I moved to Italy a year and a half ago).  My wife is a cappuccino drinker
(I'm not, particularly) but, my observation is that milk is not-uncommonly
scalded.

The price is great (80-90 cents, if you drink at the bar €1-€1.40ish if you
take a table, often - but not always - you pay more if you don't drink at
the bar).  I never quite understood why American coffee bars thought they
could charge $2.50-4 a shot.

I'm kind of skeeved out by the comment that old machines take on coffee
flavor - personally, I'd rather my machines were well cleaned.  His point
is well taken, though.  Italian establishments are often grungier than I'd
ever except in the states (except for a "grungy, but cool" coffee shop).

All in all, I'd actually say there's a lot more bad espresso drunk in Italy
than in the states - if only because it's so common.  That probably also
means that there's more good espresso here too... I wouldn't argue with
that.

Grace and peace,
    tim

On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 3:40 AM, Michael Rasmussen <michael at michaelsnet.us>
wrote:

> This Rome native transplanted to San Francisco critiques and analyzes US
> coffee.
>
> https://medium.com/@sinzone/why-is-espresso-in-america-so-bad-b0606d8ddeb5#.ubzk6ojd0
>
> --
>       Michael Rasmussen, Portland Oregon
>     Be Appropriate && Follow Your Curiosity
> The universe is a program. You're just a subroutine.
>     ~ Zach Weiner
>
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-- 
Rev. Dr. Tim TenClay
"Only a religion which is a way of living in every sphere either deserves
to or can hope to survive." (MacIntyre)
«Solo una religione che è un modo di vivere in ogni ambito sia merita o può
sperare di durare.»(Macintyre)
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