by Luigi Odello
Secretary General of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters, he is also a lecturer at the University of Udine, Verona and at the Cattolica in Piacenza. In addition he is the Chairman of the Taster Study Center and Secretary General of the Italian Espresso National Institute
Why do I have to drink just 25 milliliters of coffee? There are moments in which you need to drink and our organism is satisfied only by a high quantity. And in these moments it is possible to commit two crimes: to water down wine and to order a ‘long’ at the bar.
Let go of the first and consider the second. What does happen in the 99% of cases in which you order a long espresso to the barman? He will let the liquid flow from the espresso machine till the cup is full. And if you have asked for a long in a big cup, he won’t make a different thing, and if he had a little good sense he will stop at three quarters.
The crime is then done: the espresso is not short or long, the Italian espresso, the best in the world, is of 25 milliliters because the blend is projected like that. Instant substances, suspended and emulsified, will reach the right balance in the cup to the strike of the 25th milliliter.
If it will be less, it means that a part of the components is not already pass in the extraction water, if it will be more the extraction will have effect of ever growing shares of unpleasant substances. But there is more. When the coffee is long the cooking is anomalous during the extraction phase and so the disgust grows. In many countries out of Italy, where less than 50 millilitres is not served, they maintain the grinding coarser and so they reduce the problem (more or less).
But what we can do if we want a real long coffee? The best long coffee that I have drunk in the world is the Peruvian ‘gota a gota’, made with a coffee syrup obtained with a particular coffeemaker. To make this coffee concentrate the real adepts need a couple of hours, keep on adding little quantity of hot water on the ground coffee and waiting that it goes down drop by drop. But then they have got coffee for a whole day: they just need to dilute the syrup with some hot water. And everyone can drink as much coffee has they want to. The only important thing is to use quality coffees as well as the washed Peruvians.
At home we have got different possibilities: the Neapolitan coffeemaker, the percolator, the siphon and the filter in last place because it isn’t useful to give quality. But if we have got an espresso machine, which you can find almost everywhere, or we are at the bar, how can we have a great long coffee? It is easy: a big cup and hot water apart. You extract the espresso in the right quantity and add as much water as you want. An excellent espresso holds till five parts of water, so you can have a big cup of 150 millilitres, like the cappuccino one. Pay attention however: do not you think you can do it without quality coffee just because you are drinking it long. Especially in this case you have to choose blends rich of washed coffees, better if there are some citrus aromas which are the best ones for dilution.