What is Italian coffee, or an What is Italian blend?
Yes, I have heard of an Italian roast. The latter refers to a very dark roasted coffee, a coffee roasted beyond second-crack.
This is a roast degree which few artisan roasters will offer, most preferring to drop the beans at a medium-dark or dark roast, certainly before the beans could be described as an Italian roast.
An Italian roast, sometimes also called French or Continental, is typically very dark brown. The beans will have an oily sheen to them which indicates that the oils have seeped through to the surface.
Most roasters, if they even offer this, will rarely use high- quality Arabic beans for an Italian roast since it would be a waste.
Consumers should be aware that there are many misnomers used in the coffee industry.
Some are confusing, others downright misleading. The Latin phrase “caveat emptor” suggests that the consumer is ultimately responsible for his choice and should take due care.
As far as coffee is concerned, read the labels carefully and do not be misled by romantic labels and foreign-sounding names.
Look for coffee that is clearly marked 100% Arabica. Remember that coffee is not commercially farmed in Italy, Turkey, or even Cape Town.
Coffee roasted in South Africa and even closer to home in the Eastern Cape will always be fresher than coffee shipped from faraway lands.
When it comes to coffee, that well known local truism certainly applies – “local is lekker”.
Alan Hawkins is the chief roaster and founder of Cutman & Hawk Coffee. www.elcoffee.co.za