The Italian espresso cup
Italian-style espresso is the result of a combination of several forces. The mechanical one (the pump that pushes the water), the hydraulic one (the water that passes through the circuits of the machine and the group), the thermal one (the heat that extracts the oils contained in the coffee powder). The meeting point of this alchemy of forces and energies is the cup holding the Italian espresso coffee.
Not just any cup, but a receptacle that complies with precise rules on the quality of materials, geometry and ergonomics, by guaranteeing the consistency of the Crema and the exaltation of the coffee's aromatic flavour.
The passport to the Italian espresso cup
According to the Italian Espresso Institute, i.e. the certifying body of the made in Italy coffee par excellence, the capacity of the cup must be between 50 and 75 ml, in order to contain 25-30 ml of extracted drink.
Hard feldspar porcelain (fired at high temperatures) is definitely the material of choice, as it offers greater weight, brilliance, excellent heat conduction, resistance to temperature changes, shocks and chemicals.
The recommended shape is a truncated ellipse, commonly known as a "half-egg", with a narrower, rounded inner base and a not excessively wide top: two geometric elements that allow both the ideal flow of the aromatic charge towards the nose and the liquid into the mouth.
This regulates the temperature of the extracted coffee. It should also be wider at the base and thinner at the edge, ensuring a pleasant feel on contact with the lips.
A good espresso comes into the cup at 80°C and should be drunk at around 60°C, i.e. within 2 minutes of extraction. In this way, both its organoleptic profile and the most important visual element - the crema - remain intact. To maintain the consistency and colour of the cream for longer, the cup must be dry and warm (40°C). A lower temperature tends to disperse the cream in a short time and accentuate bitterness and acidity.
The translucent white colour, at least on the inside and on the edge of the cup, is the most suitable to highlight every smallest shade of colour of the cream and allow a better evaluation of the characteristics of the extract.