The secrets of a good coffeeThe famous French politician Talleyrand sustained that a good coffee has to be: as hot as Hell, black as the devil, pure as an angel, sweet as love. Every day in Italy more than twenty million cups of espresso coffee are consumed. Some useful hints follow to recognise a good coffee.
ColourLook carefully at the cream: in a perfect espresso this has a hazel-nut colour with reddish reflections and clear streaks that create a stripy effect. If instead the cream of the espresso tends toward grey, it means that there is a large quantity of Robusta quality in the blend. A cream tending to white indicates that a quantity of coffee less than the opportune amount has been used, the grinding was too coarse, the pressure of the powder in the filter holder was too light. On the other hand, a tendency toward black indicates over extraction of the preparation.
ConsistencyGiven by protein, fats and sugar that are emulsified in the water during the extraction. A good espresso is always distinguished by a cream of 2 or 3 millimetres, with a fine “texture”. Coffee that has been under-extracted or over-extracted, produced with poor blends under roasted and with a limited quantity of fats and glucides, do not usually have a cream.
FragranceBring the cup to your nose and breathe in slowly, then after swallowing the first sip, concentrate on the new aromas that are perceived. Toasted, this is the dominating sensation of every espresso, due to particular constituents that form during the roasting from the transformation of the sugars. Chocolate, prestigious aroma that often evokes memories of vanilla together with the more marked aromas of cocoa. Fruity, particularly notable in high quality hulled coffees, among which may emerge a typical citrus note. Toasted bread, a very positive sensation that recalls bread coming fresh from the oven.
TasteIf you pay attention to the sensations given by the first sip, you will note three of the basic tastes: sweet, acid and bitter. Apart from these real taste sensations, you will perceive other sensations such as heat, astringency and mellowness. Coffee gourmets advise to grind each time the quantity of coffee required, to maintain aroma at its maximum. The best solution to preserve the coffee is provided by the pressurised tins, that keep the beans unaltered for more than a year. The "processed” coffee in beans or ground, has to be vacuum-packed so as to maintain all the organoleptic properties.