The so called "tazzulella" is increasingly despised. The offer of a good espresso is not the focus of the bartender anymore. Thus increases the number of mediocre products, often accompanied by an equally poor service.
The more consumers get to know a product, the more they become demanding of quality. Therefore producers and operators will be encouraged to do better. It happened with wine, olive oil, and with many typical italian products, why it should not happen with our so famous coffee? More consumers recognize a good coffee, better quality roasters and baristas will be asked for. The reasoning is flawless, except that for coffee it doesn't seem to work so much.
In fact, the number of mediocre espressos served in Italy seems to grow more and more as to say that the cultural problem is upstream or in the bartenders skills. Many that decide to open a new bar have no experience and they simply consider it something to be successful at because of the many services they can provide: from phone cards to electricity bills payment down to many kind of lotteries, being the urban areas the most involved because of the lunch break habits for which the demand is constantly rising to fit with the new italians life styles. Offering a fresh espresso to their customers, then, is no longer the bartender's focus. One confirm comes from the vast majority of operators not even knowing the composition of the mixture: the purchase is often unrelated to product quality, but it comes from incentives and funding that bartenders receive from roasters in exchange for contracts for their mixture, often of questionable quality. What are the results? Easily said: it is not uncommon to see a consumer who can say with certainty whether the espresso is good or not, but can not tell exactly why. Nonetheless two thirds of Italian are not used to go to the same bar and half the italians does not even remember the coffee brand.
Yet, as a matter of coffee consumption we're only beaten by the Germans, with an average of 5 cups per day and by the americans who, instead of the espresso, are used to drink 3.2 cups of extra-long coffee (no pun intended but it has nothing to do with espresso). The italian passion for coffee reaches a daily consumption of about 70 million cups (an average of 3 cups per day per capita). The real risk is that, over time, the consumer gets used to drink poor quality coffee. Nonetheless, the many companies imitating the Starbucks formula, they try to hide the quality gap proposing many different flavoured espressos and add an equally poor service and unprepared staff: "special" coffees in countless variations of spices but little ability if not for that to hide the taste of mediocrity and help expand revenues.
The perfect espresso
Do you know how many grams of coffee it takes to make an espresso? Is the coffee pressed into the cup holder? Should this be cleaned during the operations? Do you know the mixture composition and the parameters for a proper grinding? Can you explain why sometimes the espresso has only a little cream or why it smell burned?
If you can answer all these questions, then you can aspire to a perfect espresso... that perfect espresso that the experts define to appear "with a hazelnut cream color, tending to dark brown with distinct tawny reflections with a very fine texture, with no large bubbles, with an intense and persistent smell, acid taste and bitter balanced without any prevalence of one over the other".