Coffee is the ubiquitous a.m. beverage in New York and across the country. But, while people in the States are rushing to get a quick-fix from big-name chains, Italians are leisurely enjoying espressos and latte macchiatos at local cafés. In order to celebrate National Coffee Day properly, we chatted with Italian coffee maker Giovanni Finotto, owner of the East Village's Italian coffee shop, I Am Coffee. See his five tips below:
1. Cleanse Your Palate Before Having an Espresso.
Finotto suggests sipping a glass of water before you have espresso. “Coffee has a very complex web of flavors,” explains Finotto. “It’s one of nature’s ingredients with the most complex flavor profile and aroma, so, if you have any leftover taste in your mouth, it will interfere with your perception of the coffee.”
2. Only Take Your Milk-Based Coffee With the High-Quality Stuff.
“If I’m drinking a latte macchiato, I have to understand what’s behind that recipe and why they invented [the drink]. I need to drink it with real, high-quality milk,” says Finotto. “It’s not a question of fat percentage but a question of protein quality that allows you to execute the traditional technique.”
3. Remember That Having Coffee is a Social Act.
“In Italy, you drink coffee at the counter for a variety of reasons,” says Finotto, while pointing out Italians’ desire to constantly be surrounded by people. “But [we also drink at the counter] because, for us, [these] are coffee bars in towns where everyone knows each other. They won’t let you sit at a table because there will be at least one or two people you know.” Another reason why it’s popular to drink at the counter? Italians usually have espresso, “which is quick,” Finotto tells us.
4. That Said, To-Go is a Practical Necessity… Just Know What to Order.
“Some things are not good to-go, like the single shot espresso,” Finotto explains. “I make the double shot espresso [to-go] because the volume of the drink can hold the temperature for longer, even in a cup that isn’t made of ceramic.”
5. If You’re Doing a Coffee Tasting, Try Drip Coffee.
“It’s less condensed,” says Finotto. “You can [discern] perfumes and flavors in a cleaner manner.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLAUDIO MUSAJO (MAROCCHINO)