04 Jun 2019

A special classification for Neapolitan coffee

Article written by Michele Sergio and published in IL ROMA on 02 June 2019

1)Number 1 of Italian coffees – Those who visit Naples do not just admire its architectural and landscape wonders but are also looking for a perhaps more interesting aspect: the Neapolitan culture and cuisine. Dishes such as spaghetti and pizza, desserts like babà  and sfogliatella are now known all over the world. Even the drink par excellence of the city of the sun, coffee, is known throughout the world for its goodness. Those who visit Naples cannot but taste the mythical tazzulella ‘e cafè and, often, after having tasted it, ask the bartender who prepared it for him:“ but how is it that Naples makes coffee better?

2) The 2 ingredients: coffee powder and water – There are two ingredients for making Neapolitan coffee. The first is the mixture with a strong and decisive taste. The coffee beans are roasted (cooked) for longer and at higher temperatures, and the traditional Arabica species are added to percentages of robusta beans, less sweet and with a higher caffeine content. The “cremina” that forms on the surface in the cup is due precisely to the robust species and this is why the Neapolitan coffee must always be “turned” with the teaspoon (directly in the mocha or in the Neapolitan if prepared at home or in the cup if consumed at the bar) in order to mix the more creamy surface with the more liquid one below. The second ingredient is the Neapolitan Quella comes from the crystalline springs of the Serino, in the Irpini mountains, already known, appreciated and drunk in the times of the ancient Romans, still today among the best for organoleptic characteristics and purity. For many experts it is the water of Naples that makes our coffee the best in the world

3) The “3 Cs” – The strong Neapolitan coffee should be drunk in a cup of dished-up porcelain, boiling, to make the moment of consumption careful and stimulating and many patrons often scorching their lips pronounce the famous exclamation in the vernacular “Comm ‘cazz’ coce ”(As a hot chap). It is the Neapolitan tradition that forces us to serve coffee in a hot cup. The temperature of the cup must be similar to that of the coffee just extracted from the machine, so as not to make the drink suffer a thermal shock that could alter its taste. The cup is a sort of “cradle” and, therefore, the more welcoming the more the espresso is tasty.

4) The “4 M” – There are four rules for creating a perfect Neapolitan coffee. Codified over the years by the Neapolitan bartenders are: M-iscela. As mentioned before it is unmistakable for the typical strong and intense taste of the Neapolitan espresso and the characteristic surface formation of a thick and creamy layer. Machine. Unlike in other places in Italy, where the machine with continuous delivery (automatic or semi-automatic) is widespread, the Neapolitan bartenders prefer the lever machine, more powerful (and the product benefits in quality) as well as fast, allowing you to prepare more coffee at the same time. M-acina. Only with a properly adjusted grinder (the roasted beans must not be ground either finely or coarsely), only with the “right mill point” will the coffee be crafted. M-ano that of the bartender. The experience gained over the years, the passion, the curiosity for the subject of Neapolitan machinists have led to their recognition as the most capable and prepared

5) The number of times a Neapolitan drinks coffee per day – Naples is the first city in Italy for coffee consumption and number of bars per square kilometer. An average Neapolitan drinks coffee for breakfast, in the morning, after lunch, in the afternoon and even after dinner. In short, a true Neapolitan drink at least five coffees a day! It is a cultural custom, in addition to being a food habit, the main moment of aggregation, the necessary and simple means of human and social interchange

6) The number of cups that can be prepared with a mocha – Despite the fact that in the last few years, coffee machines for pods and capsules are becoming more widespread in the homes of all Italians, there are still those who prefer to prepare the coffee with the classic moka coffee shop. It can be found in all sizes and types. The most sold is certainly the six-cup version, the c.d. “Mokona” ideal for family use and to offer coffee to its guests.

7) The weight in grams of coffee powder – The ideal amount of coffee powder needed to make a Neapolitan espresso at the bar according to the rules is 7 grams. In many bars in the city, however, it is customary to increase the quantity, even using 7.5 or even 8 grams per cup. In this way the coffee will be even stronger and creamier, and, of course, better.

8) The number of cups per minute – In the bars and cafeterias of the city of Naples the espresso lever coffee machine is very used. It is easy to recognize it, even for those who are not experts in the sector, as they do not have buttons, but rather have “arms” that are lowered by the bartender to make coffee. The most widespread is the one with four dispensing groups capable, therefore, of producing 8 coffees at a time. In fact, each group can be fitted with a filter holder with two nozzles for extracting two coffees. On days with greater influx of customers, an expert machinist (the bartender involved in the preparation of coffee) prepare about 8 coffees per minute, which multiplied by 60 minutes make 480 coffees in 1 hour.

9) Atmospheres – Inside the espresso coffee machine there is an electric pump which has the function of producing a pressure of 9 atmospheres, necessary for hot water to pass through the ground coffee panel and extract its best substances. Using a more appropriate technical language, we can say that by exerting pressure on the filter (containing 7 grams of ground coffee) of 9 atmospheres of about 30 cl of water at 90 °, a Neapolitan express prefect is extracted of about 30 cl.

10) The score – It is the score that patrons from all over the world give to our coffee: 10 and praise.