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what is Italian Roasted coffee? Is it coffee from Italy? Where does coffee come from?

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Roasting Italian Style

One of the most important steps in the coffee processing journey is certainly the roasting of the beans. The roasting process is what galvanizes the beans with the flavour, aroma, hints, notes, and characteristics that will be unveiled once they are ground and brewed up. So of course, Italy, one of the major coffee capitals of the world has its own roasting methods and techniques. But what is Italian Roasted coffee? Is it coffee from Italy? Where does coffee come from? Keep reading to find out, oh, and 10% at checkout when you use the code “Amici10”!

'Does coffee come from Italy?' and other common questions

To begin to understand Italian Roasted coffee beans, it is important to clear up some potential confusion. For example, are Italian Roasted beans coffee beans from Italy? Does coffee grow in Italy? If not, where does coffee come from?

While lots of our coffee terminology, coffee styles, brewing methods, and of course lots of coffee culture is certainly Italian in origin, the origins of coffee itself is not! The origins of coffee as a plant go back thousands of years to Ethiopia's highlands. It is here in Ethiopia in the wild forests of coffee trees that people first began to enjoy coffee.

Though the origins of coffee as a plant are pretty certain, the very first coffee drinker is a bit more of a mystery. Though there is one popular and highly plausible theory above the rest out there. Some theories suggest coffee was discovered by a Sufi mystic from the Maghreb, other stories report other things. But it is the tale of Kaldi the goatherder that seems to have the most traction.

This theory goes back to the early Medieval period, where an observant goatherder named Kaldi was watching his flock. Though goat watching doesn't sound like the most astounding of activities, Kaldi would be the discoverer of one of the most important culinary discoveries of all time. One day Kaldi noticed his goats were running, jumping, prancing, and playing with some unusually high vigour and energy. On closer inspection, he noticed that the goats had been gnawing on some peculiar-looking red cherries growing from a tree. He grabbed a few of these cherries and brought them to the abbot of the local monastery. The abbot tried brewing the cherries into a tonic using hot water. The curious men gave the beverage a taste and boom! The rest is coffee history.

After Kaldi's chance discovery of this magical drink, coffee proceeded to spread far and wide, initially in North Africa and the wider Muslim world before being exported or smuggled elsewhere like Europe, South America, and Indonesia.

But why does Italy have so much hegemony in regards to coffee clout? Well, Italy’s own Venice was once a powerful, wealthy, and independent city-state. One that had trade connections with the Arab and wider Islamic world while the rest of Europe had limited if any contact with the Muslim world at all. This means lots of the first contact other Europeans had with coffee often came via the Venetians who gave coffee and the many different styles of coffee names in Italian.

Fast forward to the turn of the century when Italy, especially Milan, began developing many different types of brewing devices and methods. The original French Press, espresso machines, you name it! This furthered Italy's role as a master of caffeinated drinks.

Despite Italy's dominance in the coffee world, no coffee beans are actually grown in Italy. Most coffee beans come from South and Central America, parts of Africa, and maritime Southeast Asia. Though beans do not come from Italy and must be imported from elsewhere, they may be Italian roast. This is just the style name, in reference to the way coffee beans are roasted in Italy, especially southern Italy, where the dark roasted beans can be found at many a coffee counter. But what exactly is “Italian roast”?

Italian roast explained

Coffee beans undergo the roasting process to make it easier to brew with them and to unlock flavours, hints, aromas, and notes. As the hard, dense, green beans get roasted, gases and liquids within the beans become heated and emerge by cracking the bean’s surface. These cracks are what roastmasters use as a guide when they are roasting beans and assist them in producing light, medium, or dark roasted beans or anything in between.

Beans roasted before the first crack will range from blonde to lightly roasted beans. Beans roasted to the second crack will be in the medium spectrum of roasting types. But after the second crack in the beans’ surfaces is dark roasted bean territory. This is where the Italian roast comes in. Italian roast is generally roasted very dark and exists as one of the darkest roast types there is. Beans roasted Italian style is small, very dark, and coated with a layer of naturally occurring sugars, fats, and oils that give these beans an appetizing sheen.

Italian roasted beans take on the flavour and aroma of the roasting vessel they are prepared in and will have toasty, roasted, and bittersweet flavour palettes. Italian roasted beans will lack acidity but may attain some bitterness instead. As Italy is the land of espresso it is only natural that Italian roasted beans are the ideal choice for preparing expert-level cups of espresso coffee. This is because the darker roasted beans will be easier to grind into the very fine size that is required for espresso. The beans lose a lot of their density as they are roasted and so by the time they are fired up to the level of a superb Italian roast they will be far less dense and much easier to grind!

Roasted the Italian way

Coffee trees originally come from Ethiopia, but the descendants of these original coffee plants can be found around the globe from Tanzania to Brazil to Sumatra. But what unites them all in a global village of coffee goodness? The Italian roasting style! So whether a bean is from Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, or Kenya it could still be roasted Italian style. This makes it all the more suited to becoming a superb shot of espresso! So why not try some Italian roasted beans today? Take a look at some of our superb Italian coffee beans today and make sure to use the code “Amici10” to get 10% off at checkout!


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