Extraction systems and “espresso” coffee

Caffe Turco Preparazione

There are different ways of drinking coffee and this variety indicates the versatility of this product and how it has been enjoyed in different periods.
• The most simple preparation system is infusion:
a dose of ground coffee is added to boiling water in a jug. Infusion takes about 3-5 minutes and the coffee is then filtered through a strainer.
• Turkish-style: a special pot called “ibrik” is used to boil the water and then add very fine-ground coffee and sugar. This is then left to boil again. This method produces very particular coffee: strong, dense and (despite the sugar) rather bitter.
• Neapolitan: the special coffee pot has a removable filter that is filled with finely ground and highly roasted coffee; the base is filled with water and left to boil, with the top part (with a pouring beak) tightly closed. Once the water boils, the pot is turned upside down so that it can flow into the other section, filtering through the coffee.
• Moka: a very popular system comprising a stove top coffee pot in three sections: a boiler to boil the water, a filter with a dose of about 6 g of fairly well ground coffee and a third section to collect the drink. The special feature is that the water has no escape route other than the steam pressure that rises into the second recipient filtering through the coffee in about one minute. The drink has a distinct flavour and an intense aroma.
• Filter. Perhaps the most common system in the world. Rough ground coffee is used – from 5/6 g of light roasted in North America up to 10 g of medium roasted coffee in France. Boiling water is simply poured over the coffee placed in special paper or fabric filters and then percolates by gravity into a pot underneath – the resulting coffee is delicate and not too strong for frequent consumption. This system only exploits about 20% of the coffee components in 150/200 ml cups.
• Soluble. Not widely used in Italy but popular abroad. Preparation is extremely easy: simply dissolve the product in hot water using about 2/3 g of coffee for 150/200ml cups. Processing of this kind of coffee involves differences such as freeze-dried (better and more expensive) or spray-dried.
• an Italian tradition becoming increasingly popular abroad: “espresso” coffee: specific equipment prepares a very concentrated, fully-flavoured drink with an intense body and aroma. This equipment involves an espresso-coffee machine, a pump, a water softener and a grinding-dosing unit. The vital technical elements for making good espresso coffee have remained unchanged for decades, despite the refinements and ease of use offered by certain electronic components. These elements include high-quality materials (copper, brass, steel) in a series of fundamental components such as the boiler, the heat exchanger, solenoids, infusion units and filter-holders, the pressure switch used to set boiler pressure and the pressure gauge indicating pump and boiler pressure.

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