Think (espresso) like an Italian. ESPRESSO ITALIANO A combination of quality, the right grind and measure of coffee, an excellent machine, and the experience of a qualified barista, an “Italian Espresso Specialist”: this is the only way to obtain a Certified Italian Espresso. Products identified with the “Espresso Italiano Certificato” brand adhere to rigorous guidelines and are regularly tested by a group of expert tasters who apply scientific rules of sensory analysis. Astoria is one of the founding members of the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano (Italian National Espresso Institute), which was started in 1998 after research conducted in association with the Istituto Internazionale Assaggiatori Caffè (International Institute of Coffee Tasters) and the Centro Studi Assaggiatori (Tasters’ Studies Centre) to protect and promote one of the most undisputed international symbols of the “Made in Italy” label. Only in bars and businesses that display the Espresso Italiano trademark can you taste the quality guaranteed by the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano. The complete guide to participating establishments is available at the following web address:

The perfect espresso

A full, balanced, intense aroma, rich in notes of flowers, fruit, chocolate and toasted bread; extra-fine, consistent crema of a dark hazelnut colour that comes alive with tawny highlights, with a persistence of 3-4 minutes. When tasted, the body of the espresso gives a sensation of density. When it has been extracted correctly, the body is dense, round, full. The word flavour is used to express the richness and full body of the taste, meaning that which upholds the quality of the product: a harmonious taste that persists on the palate, velvety, with just the right hint of bitterness that is never astringent.

The perfect cappuccino

Certified espresso with equal parts of milk and milk cream added, for a total of about 150 ml. Knowing how to prepare a creamy milk foam (and not milk suds) is the secret to a perfect cappuccino: you want voluptuous cream without big bubbles and with a long persistence, which renders a magnificent sensation on the palate. It is preferable to use whole milk at the lowest possible temperature; this way there is more time to work the foam before it reaches 65°, the temperature at which the milk fats and proteins are transformed, thus obtaining the perfect volume. It’s important to correctly position the tip of the steam wand under the milk surface. The perfect position or sweet point is when the tip is half a centimetre under the surface, slightly tilted to one side so that the steam forms a vortex. As the volume of the milk increases, it will be necessary to lower the milk pitcher to keep the wand in the same position in the milk. Once the temperature is reached, continue to work it, lightly tapping the base of the pitcher on a flat surface to eliminate any bubbles and rotating it in wide arcs to keep the milk and the foam well mixed so they can be poured into the espresso together. The art of the cappuccino doesn’t end here; in fact, at this point the barista can apply a personal touch of originality, creativity and experience.

The coffee Italians like

To each place its own particular coffee. From east to west, from south to north, Italy is all about style and its individual interpretations, with one single common denominator: strong personality and heightened sensory experience. This is the country where the culture of coffee has reached its peak expression. Experience, application, passion and experimentation – when it comes to appliances, preparation methods and coffee shop recipes – make the “Made in Italy” espresso a product that is well known and appreciated throughout the world. It’s no surprise that the first espresso coffee machine was invented in Italy: it was trademarked by an engineer from Milan, Giuseppe Bezzera, in 1902. Over the course of a century, research and the application of this research have led to enviable results. Astoria espresso machines represent the most advanced frontier in this research. These are technological gems developed to extract all the best that coffee can offer: an incomparable concentration of aroma, body and taste.
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