Italian coffee brands are famous globally, and if you have ever visited Italy, you would have undoubtedly experienced the enjoyment that comes from drinking coffee; it’s unlike anywhere else.
In addition, coffee rituals define the time of day in Italy. For example, you would always have a cappuccino in the morning, a macchiato in the afternoon, and espresso after dinner.
The top Italian coffee brands you should try include.
- Pelini, and
Be aware that if you hope to replicate the Italian espresso experience at home, you may not find some brands online.
Clearly, the best way to enjoy coffee is to take inspiration from Italian coffee rituals. So let’s gain some better insight into their coffee culture by exploring the best beans to buy, why their coffee is so good, and the best machine and equipment to use.
Why Is Italian Coffee So Good?
Italian coffee is so good because of tradition and experience. Italy is the gold standard for espresso as they have many cumulative years of practice.
It is a major part of daily life, and Italy was one of the first countries to import coffee. The espresso machines in Italy contribute significantly to the great flavor of an espresso shot.
Espresso is Italian coffee, and the word means fast, and a traditional espresso takes just thirty seconds to brew.
If you order a coffee from a waiter in an Italian bar, you will likely get an ordinary but excellent espresso. Espresso was merely a quick way of getting coffee to as many people as possible.
Italian bars also use straightforward but effective machines that tend to last a long time, and they put only the freshest coffee beans in the machines in small batches. These coffee bars usually obtain their coffee beans from small local roasters to keep the continuous freshness in their coffee.
Top Italian Roast Coffee Beans
So, firstly, there is no such thing as an Italian coffee bean because Italy doesn’t have a suitable climate for growing coffee.
However, they are the best in the world at sourcing, blending, and roasting excellent coffee beans. So, let’s look at five of the best Italian roast coffee beans:
1. Illy Classico
This is a whole ground coffee bean from the Illy company; their Classico beans are a medium roast with a prolonged sweetness and mild caramel, jasmine, and orange blossom notes.
This roast uses only 100% Arabica coffee beans to offer it a rich, smooth, full-bodied flavor.
You will love this coffee for its smooth, balanced, perfectly consistent, and never-bitter flavor. This is the best coffee bean overall.
2. Lavazza Crema
This is perhaps the best pre-ground coffee. Lavazza Crema is a dark roast that has bold chocolate and vanilla flavors.
You will enjoy this coffee for its full-bodied, strong flavors with a thick crema.
3. Pellini No.82 Vivace
This is an excellent blend for espresso, it has a dark roast level, and you can purchase it either as whole coffee or ground.
Pellini No.82 Vivace has a bold, full-bodied flavor using 90% Arabica beans and 10% Robusta. This coffee will give you a rich mouthfeel with a thick crema sitting on top of your espresso.
4. FORTE by Filicori Zecchini
This is an excellent budget pick that you will genuinely enjoy. This blend has a medium to dark roast level with a toasted cereal flavor profile.
It is available to purchase either as the whole bean or as ground coffee. Forte is a blend of 70% Arabica and 30% Robusta. If you enjoy strong coffee, then this is the blend for you. Despite being a budget pick, Filicori Zecchini produces some of the tastiest blends in Italy.
5. Caffe Vergnano Gran Aroma
Italian coffee-maker Caffe Vergnano uses a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans to produce a strong syrup-like espresso with mildly spiced notes and a rich crema for their Gran Aroma blend.
The company itself boasts a long and distinguished history since Domenico Vergnano founded the company in 1882. The Vergnano family has truly mastered the art of roasting coffee and selling it.
Where Do Italian Beans Come From?
As we now understand, Italy doesn’t have the climate for growing coffee, but coffee is a true passion, and they are ritualist about drinking the beverage.
As previously mentioned, Italians are experts at sourcing, blending, and roasting coffee beans to bring out the best flavors. If you wish to taste their expertise yourself, look out for specific criteria when purchasing coffee beans, such as:
- GRIND – Italians prefer whole beans rather than pre-ground beans for freshness when making espresso. However, they purchase ground beans for making drip coffee. Therefore, you need a fine grind for espresso.
- ROAST LEVEL – Italians prefer dark but not oily roasts.
- THE FLAVORS – Chocolate, fruit, toast, caramel, and honey.
- VARIETAL – Northern Italians prefer 100% Arabica beans, while southern Italians prefer Arabica and Robusta blends.
There are numerous Italian coffee roasters. However, two coffees dominate the Industry. Lavazza and Illy.
Both companies boast two centuries of experience between them and are loved by individuals for their authentic Italian taste. But, you must decide which one is for you.
LAVAZZA uses a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans. The Robusta offers an earthier, darker flavor with a rich crema layer. Lavazza is an excellent selection for espresso, French Press, and Moka pot.
In contrast, Illy is regarded as the higher-end of the two brands; understandably, it is more expensive. However, Illy uses only 100% Arabica blends, so this brand possesses more refined flavors and sweetness, and it is an ideal choice for espresso and filtered coffee.
Italians have a strong preference for medium to dark roasts because their coffee-drinking culture is espresso-based.
The darker the coffee bean, the more porous it is to extract as much flavor as possible in a shorter period. This is especially true when brewing a 25-second espresso shot.
The medium-to-dark coffee roasting spectrum ensures you will get a genuine Italian experience with no risk of tasting under-extracted coffee beans in your espresso. Darker beans also provide chocolate and caramel flavors for a more decadent coffee.
Best Italian Espresso Machines
Most high-end espresso machines are manufactured in Italy. Brewing espresso is an art form there, and it shows in the quality of their espresso machines, but which machines are the best?
Firstly, there are espresso machines to suit every skill level, but the three main types are semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic.
Generally speaking, it takes longer to get used to a SEMI-AUTOMATIC MACHINE as the user has the maximum control over the extraction process when starting and stopping.
By contrast, AUTOMATIC machines use programmed settings once the shot is complete. This approach is hands-free, which is why this machine is popular with beginners.
Of course, SUPER-AUTOMATIC MACHINES are the ultimate user-friendly espresso machine. Rather than just controlling the brew cycle, these machines tamp, brew, and foam milk for you.
Then, the user just selects the drink they need from the programmed selections and waits.
No one machine is the best as it’s a matter of personal preference as each one has its good and bad side. There is no one-size-fits-all for espresso machines as different machines will benefit certain homes and businesses more than others.
To get the best out of your machine, you must consider the logistics before making your purchase:
- Business layout
- Drink volume
- Employee skill level
Let’s look at five superb espresso machine manufacturers for both home and business use:
1. Lavazza Coffee Machines
The Lavazza company manufactures affordable home espresso machines that use ground coffee and coffee capsules. Unlike many pod machines, Lavazza pod machines can accommodate up to 12 pods at any one time.
2. Illy Espresso Machines
Like Lavazza, Illy is considered a truly Italian company. Their machines are traditionally designed while using modern technology for easy usage. In addition, Illy produces pod machines and espresso machines for home use.
3. Elektra Coffee Machines
Elektra makes some of the coolest-looking espresso machines in the world. Some might describe them as being steampunk.
This company produces two main ranges – the Bar Division range for businesses and the Casa Division for the home. These machines are user-friendly and make excellent espresso, but they are very pricey.
4. Gaggia Coffee Machines
Gaggia is a Milanese company that began over one hundred years ago and is still going strong today. Gaggia makes stunning coffee machines, many of which belong in art museums, but they have an excellent range of modern and domestic espresso machines.
Gaggia is also highly affordable and user-friendly and is excellent for home and business use.
5. La Cimbali Coffee Machines
La Cimbali started over a century ago, and they make some of the best professional Italian espresso machines. These machines are not for home use, but they are an excellent company for making commercial coffee machines.
What could be better than drinking coffee in Italy? Just be aware of the rules on how to order a coffee at any given time. Enjoying Italian coffee at home couldn’t be easier; use a good Italian coffee machine and excellent Italian coffee blends, and you can’t go wrong.