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Espresso, Coffee, Capuccino..oh my…

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copyright, 2008, Maria Liberati

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm

Editor: Sara A. Harris


There’s nothing quite comparable to the first sip of a steaming morning cup of willpower. The vitalizing awareness flows richly alongside its heady scent that billows throughout household hallways, bistros, and office corridors worldwide, teasing the senses of coffee aficionados everywhere. With a fluctuating economy, coffee is indeed a commodity to be reckoned, as reportedly, over 500 billions cups are consumed every year.

Once referenced as taking a ‘coffee break’… cappuccino, café au lait, espresso, café noir, lattes, regular, and decaf, has initiated its universal appeal that doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon. While most familiar are the caffeinated temptations of Seattle’s Best, Starbucks, and Dean & DeLuca, the essence of Italy is mimicked with every grande, venti, and double-shot known to man. In light of this stimulating replication, on July 6, 1998, the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano (The Italian Espresso National Institute) was founded in the protection of this mini pleasure cup called, Espresso. And let’s clear the air on the misconception that’s contrary to popular belief, it’s not called, Expresso.


The evolution of coffee has catapulted us from brewing pots of freshly ground beans, sinful 20 ounce concoctions of iced, nonfat, extra whip treats, and all the way back to that stout little shot of espresso. Discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia, the allure of coffee spread like wildfire among various countries and eventually found its place in Italy as well the Americas. Not only used as a pleasing habitual stimulant, societies in Africa and Yemen once utilized coffee as a vital part in religious ceremonies… and in the 17th century, it was actually banned from Ottoman Turkey as a contributing factor for unfamiliar political reason. Known for its Italian name, Cappuccino– a preparation of hot milk, espresso, and milk foam– was termed from the order of Franciscan Minor friars (Franciscans), called Cappuccini. Some hypothesize the drink’s name is based on the Italian word cappuccio, meaning hood. Nonetheless, we’ve managed (somehow) to take a historically delicious original and Americanize it with chain-inventions better known as, Frappuccinos. The dessert industry smartly capitalized on the notion of coffee and confection lovers, as the bean itself has become largely popularized as a decadent chocolate-covered treat. However, when eaten in great moderation, the antioxidants prove beneficial to healthier lifestyles. True enthusiast of the drink may wish to indulge their bold palates with a taste of Italy while visiting Grand Café & Tre Marie or for those desiring a hint of java flair that’s closer to home, try your local bistro for featured drinks.

In the end, the coffee-crazed, Cup of Joe’s, and java-junkies will inevitably keep these robust textures and rich aromas from ever dissipating. Served with breakfast and dessert or even a mid-afternoon pick-me-up… the craving keeps some marveling the idea of ‘coffee patches’.


Related sources:

Don’t forget to check out Maria Liberati’s favorite coffee recipe (Coffee Frullato)

For more great recipes get your copy of the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati at


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