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Most Italians are addicted to espresso. You can have it ristretto (more concentrated), normale (standard), lungo (less concentrated), doppio (double), macchiato (with a little bit of milk), con panna (whipped cream), shakerato (cold coffee with shaved ice mixed vigorously with a cocktail shaker), and we are only mentioning the regular requests at a normal Italian bar, not a fancy coffeehouse.

Espresso is not made with a specific coffee bean, bean blend, or roasting: you only need an espresso machine or a moka pot and finely ground, fresh coffee to make a good cup. As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals are very concentrated, the coffee has a thicker consistency and a creamy texture. It has more caffeine per unit volume than most beverages, but the serving size is smaller—a typical 60 mL (2 US fluid ounce) of espresso has 80 to 150 mg of caffeine, a little less than the 95 to 200 mg of a standard 240 mL (8 US fluid ounces) cup of drip-brewed coffee.

Coffee seeds were first exported from Ethiopia to Yemen. Yemeni traders brought coffee back to their homeland and began to cultivate the seed. The consumption of coffee in Europe from the 1600s until the late 1800s was based on the traditional Ottoman preparation of the drink, by bringing to boil the mixture of coffee and water together, filtering it or waiting for the coffee grounds to settle before drinking it.

In 1884, Angelo Moriondo’s Italian patent for a bar espresso machine was registered in Turin (No. 33/256. In 1901, Luigi Bezzera came up with a number of improvements; in 1905, the patent was bought by Desiderio Pavoni, who founded the “La Pavoni” company and began to produce the machine industrially (one a day) in a small workshop in Via Parini in Milan. At that time, coffee prices were controlled by local authorities, provided the coffee was consumed standing up, encouraging the "stand at a bar" culture.

The moka pot was first patented by inventor Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and since then every Italian family bought at least one. Usually three: a two cup, a four cup, and a huge one for the holidays. Bialetti Industrie continues to produce the same model under the name "Moka Express".

Espresso is the base for other drinks, and the most famous, the most loved is cappuccino, made with espresso, hot milk, topped with steamed-milk foam, and sometimes chocolate powder. The name comes from the Capuchin friars, referring to the color of their habits.

Latte macchiato (macchiato) and caffè latte (latte) are similar: latte macchiato has the espresso added to the milk, more foam, only ½ of an espresso cup; in a caffè latte the emphasis is on the coffee, while in a latte macchiato, the emphasis is on the milk. They are both typical breakfast drinks to have at home with biscotti.

IMAGE - Italian Cafe, Deli & Gelateria in Houston.