How To Make Fantastic Coffee, Italian Style

Italy is known for making the best coffee on earth. Once you’ve enjoyed daily coffee in Italy you find nothing can compare to it when you get back home.

Morning coffee in Puglia

Whether you have an Italian coffee lover to buy a gift for or whether you just want to up your own home made coffee game, these options will help you to make fantastic coffee, Italian style.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. All products are available on Amazon.com or on my personal Amazon storefront, Amazon.com/shop/CorinnaTravels, linked here.

Coffee Machines

Let’s look at three types of Italian coffee makers. They run the gamut price wise from the $20 mark to upward of $500.

The Moka

Every Italian home and every vacation rental in Italy has a moka. They make caffe, also known as stovetop espresso.

Most will have several in different sizes from the teeny tiny one cup model to the larger 9 cup plus models. Just remember a cup is about 1.5 ounces. I normally use a 3 cup moka for myself plus 1 person, or a 9 cup model if there are more of us. Typically here in America we drink a slightly longer espresso, around 3 or 4 ounces.

The Bialetti Moka

The traditional moka is the easily recognizable Bialetti model. The Bialetti moka comes in many sizes. I have linked the large 9 cup model, but click around and see them all. In general the 3 cup or the 6 cup will be ideal for most people.

RELATED POST: HOW TO MAKE COFFEE IN A MOKA

I normally use Lavazza Crema e Gusto or Illy coffee when I make coffee in a moka.

The Alessi Pulcina Moka

I’m fascinated with the design of the Alessi Pulcina moka. Not only is is chic and modern, it was designed by Michele de Lucchi in conjunction with Illy Coffee to improve the design and function of the coffee maker. It has multiple cool functions but one of them is a boiler that stops dispensing coffee at just the right time so that it doesn’t get a bitter aftertaste. The shape also enhances the rich aroma of the coffee, and the spout which was modeled on a chicken’s beak lets it pour without spilling a drop.

Alessi make multiple different modern looking mokas but this one is my favorite.

There are two types of Italian coffee that I like to use in my moka (I also use them in French Press coffee.)

Illy Moka coffee

I love Illy’s Moka coffee. They also have fabulous coffee for espresso machines, French Press and for American drip coffee.

I particularly love Lavazza Crema e Gusto. I drink it everyday in Italy and for the last several years have been drinking it every day at home too. You can buy individual bricks of it for around $8 but once you fall in love with it, and you will, you can buy multi brick packs for arund $3 per brick.

RELATED POST: HOW TO ORDER COFFEE IN ITALY

The Nespresso

There are several different options with Nespresso machines. The main thing to consider is whether you want the original line, which makes espresso and lungo coffee ot the vertuoline which also makes more of a traditional American size cup. The original can only use original size pods and the vertuoline can only use the larger, dome shaped vertuoline pods.

The original line uses a 19 bar pressure method to make espresso and the vertuloine uses a centrifugal system. The vertuoline capusles are barcoded and tell the machine what temperature and water volume is best for that specific coffee.

Vertuoline pods are more expensive than the original line pods, which should be factored in if this will be your primary coffee maker. Nespresso brand pods are 70 cents each for original line and $1.29 each for vertuoline. There are plenty of excllent off brand pod options for the original line that run around 39 cents each, but the vertuoline only has the Nespresso option.

The Inissia and Essenza

The Inissia (now being replaced with the Essenza) is the entry level model. I have had this machine for years. Both the Inissia and the Essenza run on the same principal, the two main differences being the Essenza’s more modern, sleek look and the new design is quieter than the Inissia. While they are phasing out the Inissia you can find some good discounts.

Both machines use the original size pods and make espresso in 1.5 ounce and 5 ounce serving sizes. Both machines are lightweight and take up very little counter space. Each has a 24 ounce water resevoir. Both machines have the option of coming with a milk frother or without. If you are on a budget you can get the same style milk frother at Target for under $30.

There are multiple models and multiple size options available in the original line.

The Vertuoline

The best seller in the Vertuoline range is the Vertuo Plus Espresso and Coffee Machine. Vertuoline machines don’t come with built in frothers, but the Nespresso brand Aeroccino milk frother can be bought with it separately. All Vertuoline models make 5 different sizes of coffee vs the 2 sizes you can make with the Original line models.

The Vertuo

The Vertuo machine is larger than the VertuoPlus. With a 40 ounce water holder and a larger used pod reservoir it makes a good choice for someone who either drinks more coffee or who has more coffee drinkers in the home or workplace.

Crema

There is some debate about the quality of the crema between the Original line and the Vertuoline machines with the latter promoted as having a thicker layer on the surface. This may well be a marketing ploy to attract new buyers.

To understand the crema equation you first need to understand the differnce between the two lines. The Original line uses the traditional pressure method to make coffee. This involves using higher temperature water which extracts more oils from the grounds making a richer, stronger, more flavorful coffee.

The Vertuoline uses a centrifugal force to whip up extra crema. The coffee doesn’t come out as hot and the brew method makes a milder cup of coffee.

What Is Crema?

Crema is the tan foam like substance that forms on an espresso. It is caused by a chemical reaction during the brewing process involving pH and coffee oils. It tends to be a little acidic due to the increased pH and the CO2.

Some people think crema is an indication the barista used fresher beans to make your espresso, but its normally an indicator that inferior Robusta beans were used. With Nespresso machines the Original line’s thinner crema is closer to the real crema you get when frsh Arabica beans are used. Vertuoline’s thicker crema could be from higher percentages of Robusta beans or it could be because of the high speed spinning used in the extraction process.

Which Machine Should You Choose?

My best advice when choosing a Nespresso machine is if you enjoy real espresso and espresso drinks (like cappuccino) and don’t want to buy a big espresso machine, then the Original line is the one for you.
If you prefer longer coffee drinks or coffee machines that make a full cup like American style coffee, then the Vertuoline maybe the one for you.

While You’re On Amazon Check Out My Glam Italia! Travel Book Series

Espresso Machines

The De Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine

There are loads of options for anyone wanting the full espresso bar experience, from relatively cheap machines to very expensive ones. I’m showing two mid range options.

The De Longhi La Specialista has dual heating systems so you can be frothing milk while making espresso. It also has an integrated grinder, a handcrafted stamping station and a knock box. The Specialista is easy to clean and has an award winning design. This machine costs around $750. You can read all the features it offeres here.

The Breville Barista Express Espresso machine also offers on demand grinding, precise temperature control and milk foam texturing. It has a few less feature than the De Longhi but it did make the list of Oprah’s Favorite Things, so there’s that.

Again, there are plenty more options for espresso machines, so you should click around and do more comparisons before buying.

You can see more Italian Coffee making options including refillable nespresso pods and gorgeous espresso cups on my Amazon storefront in the Italian Coffee Style section. My storefront is Amazon.com/Shop/CorinnaTravels. I have lots of interesting things for travel enthusiasts, from books to clothing to gadgets to coffee!

Amazon Influencer Store Corinna Travels

Fascinating In Florence On The Untold Italy Podcast!

Florence is one of the most well known and well loved cities in the world. Famed for being the home of Italian Renaissance art, adored for its picturesque medieval historic center, coveted for its mastery of Italian leatherwork.

Florence Italy skyline

Florence is also a city that in the last few years has suffered from massive tourist overcrowding. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the busloads of tourists, unless of course you know where to go to avoid them. I’ll give you a heads up – there is an entirely different experience awaiting you just a few meters away from the crowds!

During my years of leading private tours through Florence I’ve learned about really amazing places to visit and things to see and do in the renaissance city that are only a stone’s throw away from the crowds yet feel like you’re in a different world.

Untold Italy Episode 49

I was so lucky to be invited onto the Untold Italy podcast to talk about my secret Florence. In the podcast we talk about everything from the Medici to the best places to try artisan gelato, where to go for an aperitivo, churches you had no idea you wanted to see, and some of my best tips for experiencing the real Florence, the Florence you will fall madly in love with.

Check out the podcast episode here.

RELATED POST: HOW TO FIND THE BEST GELATO IN ITALY

If like me you are aching for Italy but stuck at home because of the pandemic, Untold Italy has a member site called Untold Italy Insiders where every month you have a cooking lesson with one of Italy’s most famous chefs, a wine class with a sommelier who will make your heart flutter, lessons from private tour guides, live question and answer sessions, and help planning your dream trip for once we can fly the friendly skies again. There is much more available too. You can find out more about Untold Italy Insiders here.

RELATED POST: 18 Fabulous Things You MUST Do In Florence
Best Florence Travel Guide Book
Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Florence

If you want more insider secrets to help you explore the magic of Florence and discover roughly 100 incredible things to see and do that the bus tours don’t know about, almost all of which are hiding in plain sight, right under your nose, check out my best selling book Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Florence. Available world wide on Amazon.

15 Gift Ideas That Are Perfect For Travelers

We may be stuck at home for now, but travel will be back in 2021. Make your holiday shopping easy by checking out these fantastic gifts for travelers. Most (if not all) are getting Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts and all can ship from Amazon, saving you a trip to the mall! Whether you are looking for stocking stuffers or larger gifts, this list has you covered!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click through and purchase an item from the list, this blog may make a small commission. All commissions are used to help pay for hosting and publishing expenses.

The Trtl Pillow

Avoid neck pain and get comfortable sleep on plains, trains and in automobiles with the Super popular Trtl Pillow. It’s lightweight, super soft, compact, and packs easily into your carry on bag. During the 2020 holiday season it is discounted from $39.99 to $24.00 on Amazon. Linked here. Check out the video below

Compass Rose Bra Wallet

Discreetly hide money and credit cards in this RFID blocking Compass Rose bra wallet. Made from soft, bra fabric the wallet doesn’t sweat or chafe and works with all bra sizes. There are three places on your bra that you can comfortably attach your hidden wallet. It is easier to hide and much more comfortable than a traditional money belt or neck pouch.

Designed by Travel Fashion Girl Alex Jimenez. Available here on Amazon.com

Go Pro Hero8

GoPro is known as the most powerful and feature rich action camera in the world. Ideal for underwater photography as well as any action footage it is the perfect companion for travel.

Go Pro Hero 8

The new Go Pro Hero 9 is now available. It looks like the Hero 8 but has a front facing screen, horizon levelling, 30% more battery life and a big sensore boost. But it’s brand new seems to only be selling at full price. Check it out here for $399 and also as a bundle for $463 here

The Hero 8, which is still considered to be an excellent buy has lots of deals available. I’ve seen it as low as $249 on Amazon here

Portable Power Bank

Every traveler, whether venturing internationally or domestically, needs an external phone charger or power bank. I recommend getting a minimum of 20,000 mAh. The one pictured above, by Karusale has a whopping 50,000 mAh. Whatever size you get you need to be able to fully charge 2 devices from completely dead. Less than 20,000 mAh units will normally only have one or two full charges in them. The 50,000 unit will be able to charge or recharge multiple times, which is extremely helpful if your plane gets parked on the tarmac or if you get stuck while away. This one is $28.

Travel Hair Dryer

The BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium Travel Hairdryer is handsdown the best travel hair dryer I have ever had. It is both tiny and surprisingly powerful. Even with a super thick head of hair like mine I can blow dry my hair quickly. The titanium helps you to get a smooth blow out too. At only $32 this travel dryer just cannot be beaten. See it here on Amazon.

Travel Towel

The Rainleaf Microfiber Travel Towel is a best seller on Amazon
with more than 8000 5 star reviews.

Even if you’re staying in hotels it doesn’t hurt to pack a microfiber towel to bring with you. The Rainleaf Microfiber Towel is perfect for travel – it’s fast drying, super absorbant and packs down to next to nothing. It also has a suede feel to it, which is way better than scratchy hotel towels! It also comes in handy for beach trips or trip where you will be doing outdoor sports. It comes in multiple sizes and colors too. See it here on Amazon.

Jewelry Organizer

It’s always good to have a lay-flat jewelry organizer. I recommend finding the thinnest one possible. This one by Bagsmart is under $20, but there are tons of options on Amazon.

Waterproof Phone Holder

It doesn’t hurt to have a waterproof phone holder with you when you travel, especially if you will be boating/kayaking/being out in the rain. Amazon has lots to choose from. This pair from MPOW costs $6.79

Packing Cubes

I swear by packing cubes. I’ve had the same set from Eagle Creek for years and have them in mutiple sizes. They are especially handy for separating off categories of clothing, such as keeping swimwear separate from lingerie, t-shirts and tops separate from bottoms. They fit beautifully inside suitcases, and just make life so much easier when you are on the road for work or on vacation. This Eagle Creek set is 25% off at Amazon at the moment.

Universal Adaptor

If travling internationally a Universal Adaptor is essential. I have had this Unidapt Power Adaptor for several years now and have used it all over the world. At $18.95 it is a steal. During Black Friday/Cyber Monday it has further discounts too. See it here on Amazon.

Foldaway Duffel Bag

Paravel Foldable Duffel Bag

This Paravel Foldable Duffel Bag is a life saver! It folds down flat and takes up no space at all. It’s basically the size of an iPad. I take this with me on overseas trips and pull it out if I’ve overshopped or can’t pack everything back into my suitcase.

The nylon is super durable but lightweight, the zipper is strong and high quality, and the bag itself meets airline carry on requirements, fitting either in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. This one was on Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2018. If she approves, you know you can’t go wrong! Find it here on Amazon.

Hydration Electrolites

It’s easy to get dehydrated when you travel, especially when you take long flights. Nuun hydration elctrolytes not only give you the hydration boost you need, helping to stave off jet lag and reviving you after hot sightseeing days, they also offer immune support, helping you to stay healthy while you’re away. Available here on Amazon.

Leukotape

Even the best sneakers can give you blisters when you are out sightseeing all day. Leukotape is the best thing in the world for blister prevention. It is also perfect for strapping feet, toes or knees. Hikers swear by it and say it is softer than moleskin. It also will adhere for several days if you need it to. It’s a lifesaver. Available here on Amazon.

E Reader

E Readers make ideal gifts for travelers. Load as many books and audiobooks onto them as you want. (An 8GB Kindle holds 6000 books.) Waterproof and glare free you can even read with them on the beach. The newer models hold their charge up to a week. Once you’ve downloaded a book you don’t need wifi access to read it. Best gift ever! See the Kindle Paperwhite here on Amazon.

Earbuds

I recently ordered a bunch of Audio Technica audio equipment and am thrilled with the audio quality. At $99 these Audio Technica wireless earbuds are less than half the price of the Apple ones but the quality is outstanding. The are waterproof and have 6 hours battery life.

If you prefer wired headphones, the Audio Technica ATH E40 Professional In Ear Monitor Headphones provide studio quality sound at $99. Although not billed as noise cancelling they do seem to cancel out noise. Audio Technica have multiple headphone options. Check them all out here on Amazon.

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