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Caffè is the Italian word for coffee, (likely from "Kaffa", the region in Ethiopia where coffee originated[citation needed]) and may indicate either the Italian way of preparing this beverage at home or espresso, which is prepared instead with electrical steam machines. Notably, a coffee house in Italy is generally termed a bar, and only in some cases a caffè, as opposed to most other parts of the world, where a coffee house is termed a café.

Italians, and especially Neapolitans, pay special attention to the preparation, the selection of the blends and the use of accessories, all part of a special culture focused on the drink.


Caffè Espresso

Normally, within the espressobar environment, the term caffè denotes straight espresso. When one orders "un caffè" it is normally enjoyed at the bar, standing. The espresso is always served with a saucer and demitasse spoon, and sometimes with a complimentary wrapped chocolate and a small glass of water.


Coffee Maker

The instrument used to prepare caffè at home, the caffettiera, is essentially a small steam machine made of a bottom boiler, a central filter which contains the coffee grounds, and an upper cup. In the traditional Moka, water is put in the boiler and the resulting boiling water passes through the coffee grounds, then reaches the cup. The Neapolitan caffettiera operates somewhat differently, and needs to be turned upside down when the drink is ready. Its boiler and cup are therefore interchangeable.

The quantity of coffee to be put in the filter determines the richness of the final beverage, but special care is needed in order not to block the water from crossing it, in case of an excess of grounds. Some hints prescribe that some small vertical holes are left in the powder by using a fork.

A small flame has to be used to provide an appropriate moderate water pressure: a high pressure makes the water run too quickly, resulting in coffee with little flavour. The flame under the caffettiera has to be turned off ten seconds after the first characteristic noise is heard, and eventually lit again in case the cup was not filled.

Some claim[who?] that the more coffees the machine makes without being cleaned, the more tasty the final drink is. A good compromise between hygiene and taste, is having the caffettiera cleaned once every two days, before the coffee remains begin to turn bad.

Italians usually add sugar, often quite a fair amount[dubious ].

Coffee House

A related but separate translation of the Italian caffetteria is coffee house or café: an establishment in which caffè was traditionally made with a Moka. These places became common in the 19th century specifically for enjoying caffè, while the habit of caffè drinking at home started at the beginning of the 20th century, when caffettiera machines (Mokas) became available to the general public.

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