Italians on Lake Como use naturally sweet coffee beans for Italian espresso
In Como, Italians use naturally sweet coffee beans for Italian espresso

Naturally Sweet Italian Espresso | Peak Flavor Coffee

Italian Espresso: the best base for Latte & Cappuccino

Italian espresso is the best base for latte or cappuccino

What is Italian Espresso?

Espresso is the most essential Italian coffee. There are many definitions for what makes an authentic Italian espresso. At Peak Flavor Coffee, we define Italian espresso as a small, strong coffee brewed in an espresso machine with high water pressure pushed through a bed of extra fine coffee grinds.

In addition to this broad definition, we believe Italian espresso is intense but tastes naturally sweet, mild and creamy. Italian espresso is the best base for Italian latte and Italian cappuccino.

Discover Italian Espresso
Naturally sweet coffee beans make Italian espresso sweeter

Naturally Sweet Coffee Beans

You cannot get a sweet Italian espresso when you don’t start with naturally sweet coffee beans.

At Peak Flavor Coffee, we use an 85/15% Arabica/Robusta coffee bean blend to make our Italian espresso naturally sweet. Our Italian coffee bean blends are graded “extra high" in natural sweetness as compared to commodity coffee bean blends, which you'll find in most grocery store coffee.

Melicent savors an Italian cappuccino, made from Italian espresso

Personalized Espresso

Inspired by authentic Italian espresso, we make your home espresso taste naturally sweet.

At Peak Flavor, we personalize each fresh roast to custom-fit your espresso machine for your favorite coffee drink.

If you love cappuccino, we custom grind the Italian espresso beans a little finer than for espresso, so all you need to do is brew, add milk and milk foam before savoring a perfect Italian cappuccino. We call this espresso grind for cappuccino or espresso/cappuccino.

Italian espresso represents high quality craft coffee

Italian Espresso is the World's Coffee Standard

With the introduction of the espresso machine, Italian coffee became the quality standard for good coffee world-wide.

Italian espresso is certainly the most popular coffee drink consumed out of home. Despite Italian espresso popularity, however, only few (8%) of American homes own an espresso machine. Home espresso machines are expensive and notoriously difficult to use.

finding a fresh Italian espresso roast to fit your espresso machine is even harder. That's why we personalize your espresso order for your favorite espresso based coffee drinks.

Whether you prefer Italian cappuccino, Italian cafe latte or Italian macchiato, all you have to do is choose the best fit from our Italian coffee collection, brew and savor the result.

Discover Italian Espresso Collection

5 Tips for Naturally Sweet Italian Espresso

Tip #1

Use a naturally sweet coffee bean blend. Strictly high grown beans are often best suited for Italian espresso.

Tip #2

Use small-batch, darker roasts with extended caramelization. Italian style slow roasting delivers caramel, honey and vanilla aroma.

Tip #3

Use an X fine grind to extract optimal sweetness for Italian espresso. Use an XX Fine grind if you use your espresso to make cappuccino or latte.

Tip #4

Use a 14 grams of coffee to 28 ml of water. This represents a 14:28 brew ratio to yield intense but sweet, mild and creamy Italian espresso.

Tip #5

Use an espresso machine with an integrated burr grinder to keep espresso beans fresh as you only grind for what you need immediately.

How can Italian espresso be strong and sweet?

Italian espresso strength makes it the perfect base for Cappuccino, Latte, and Macchiato. To understand why high espresso strength can taste naturally sweet instead of bitter, you must first understand coffee strength.

Coffee strength is an important term when talking about Italian espresso. Strength is often used on bags of grocery store coffee to indicate how dark and bitter the coffee roast is. Using the term in this manner is inappropriate and a misuse of the term "strength" for Italian coffee.

Just like beer strength indicates the level of alcohol, the use of the word coffee strength when used to describe an Italian espresso should refer to the amount of dissolved coffee grounds in your cup. 

Because sweetness comes from dissolving coffee grounds from naturally sweet coffee beans, you want your coffee strength to be high. To avoid bitterness with high coffee strength, you want your coffee grounds to be freshly roasted, ideally within the past 8 days.

As time passes, coffee grounds naturally increase in bitterness. The development of sweetness and bitterness over time in below illustration explains why a fresh roast makes Italian espresso strong but naturally sweet at the same time. In the days after the roast, coffee sweetness peaks on day 8 after the roast date before it slowly decreases. Bitterness starts developing as coffee ages after about 14 days.

What is Espresso Crema?

Crema is an essential part of Italian espresso and an important sign for fresh roasted espresso bean quality.

A dense layer of abundant crema informs you that you have a fresh roast. Crema also informs you about espresso strength. If the crema foam is darker, your espresso will have more dissolved coffee solids and is stronger.

Italy is among Europe’s largest coffee consuming countries. Italy’s coffee of choice is espresso. Approximately 70% of Italian coffee consumption is espresso or espresso-based drinks such as Cappuccino, Macchiato, Latte and Ristretto.

In all of these popular espresso based drinks, abundant espresso cream contributes to more sweetness, milder coffee and creamier texture.

Slower, Darker Roasting for More Caramelization

Small batch Italian coffee roasting is known for extending the caramelization phase during the roast. Longer, slower coffee roasting allows for the natural sugars such as fructose to develop and caramelize, so you can extract sweetness from your espresso machine.

At Peak Flavor Coffee, we roast Italian style for all our coffees. For sweeter Italian espresso, we roast a little darker. For Italian cappuccino and Italian Latte we roast a tad darker still to make sure that enough coffee flavor breaks through the added milk and milk foam.

The Best Brew Ratio for Italian Espresso

After getting the right grind for your espresso, latte, cappuccino, or macchiato the next best way to control how much water flows through the coffee grinds in your home espresso maker is the amount of coffee grounds. To make a double espresso, Italian coffee lovers prefer to use 14 grams of coffee for 28 grams of water.

At Peak Flavor Coffee, we recommend using 10 grams of ground coffee for 20 grams of coffee liquid to make the perfectly sweet Italian espresso or ristretto. If you prefer to use your espresso to make a Cappuccino, Macchiato, Latte, Americano, we recommend you do what the Italians do when they make a double espresso and use 14 grams of fresh roasted coffee for 28 grams of Italian coffee.

An Integrated Grinder Helps Keep a Fresh Roast Fresh

Grinding coffee increases the coffee’s exposure to air or oxygen. Exposure to air is called oxidation. When coffee is exposed to air, it slowly deteriorates in quality.

Grinding coffee increases the speed of oxidation. The finer the coffe grind, the faster the oxidation or deterioration of coffe taste.

At Peak Flavor Coffee, we recommend buying whole beans for Italian espresso and custom grind just enough for what you are about to brew.

For the same reason, we recommend an espresso machine with integrated grinder. There are many good espresso machines available. If you want a more affordable home espresso maker, we recommend the Breville Barista Express.

Making Sweet Italian Espresso Easy

Making an Italian espresso at home is both frustrating and rewarding. It’s not easy to whip up a couple of naturally sweet, fresh roasted Italian style cappuccinos on a lazy Sunday morning without putting in a lot of preparation. 

Depending on whether you use your espresso for latte, cappuccino, or macchiato, it’s not easy to find the right fresh roast in the grocery store.

In most cases, you won’t know if your coffee roaster used naturally sweet beans until after you brew them. It’s even harder to determine if you have the right coffee grind for espresso, cappuccino, or latte.

That’s why at Peak Flavor, we make Italian espresso easy. Tell us what you will use your espresso for, and we’ll deliver the right coffee for Latte, Cappuccino or Macchiato.

Italian Coffee Questions

Italian espresso is naturally sweet, mild and creamy.

Italian espresso is made from a naturally sweet coffee bean blend and roasted fresh with extended caramelization. Italian espresso grinds are extra fine when used for espresso, Italian ristretto or Italian Americano. Italians grind espresso beans a little finer when they intend to use the espresso for Italian cafe latte, Italian cappuccino, or Italian macchiato

Discover naturally sweet Italian espresso in our Italian coffee collection.

Yes. Italian espresso can be naturally sweet when you use naturally sweet coffee beans, a fresh roast, and an extra fine grind.

In Italy, using a fresh roast to mae Italian coffee is the standard everywhere. Here in America, it is a little harder to find a fresh roast.

Try our fresh roasted Italian espresso.

Fresh roasted Italian espresso is the base for latte and cappuccino, the most popular coffee drinks world-wide. Italian espresso is also the base for macchiato.

When we make the Italian espresso base for latte and cappuccino, we use a naturally sweet coffee bean blend, roast fresh with extended caramelization and custom grind a little finer.

We call these the three steps to better Italian espresso. Try a Peak Flavor espresso for your own latte or cappuccino and judge for yourself.

Naturally sweet coffee beans and Italian coffee roasting for more caramel flavor are the key ingredients for Italian espresso. Using fresh roasted coffee is the secret to making naturally sweet Italian coffee at home.

You can recognize a fresh roast when your espresso has abundant crema, the thick foam on top of your espresso. This foam forms when the roast releases some of the volatile aromatic compounds, which are naturally trapped in roasted beans.

Your espresso machine brews with pressure and releases these aromas. Those are the same volatile aromas you can smell when you open a fresh roasted coffee package. As the coffee roast ages, the roasted beans slowly release these gasses over time.

If you are making Italian espresso with recently roasted coffee beans, your crema will be more abundant and the smell more pronounced. It's easy to notice.

Try an Italian espresso for yourself.

Coffee beans from coffee plantations at higher elevations in the mountains grow a little slower than coffee beans grown at sea level.

As coffee cherries slowly ripen, there is more time to develop natural sugars such as fructose.

More natural sugars make high-elevation coffee beans a lot sweeter than commodity coffee beans that grow at lower elevations.

At Peak Flavor Coffee, we select coffee bean blends from mountain plantations only because they contain more natural sweetness.

When we roast naturally sweet coffee beans for more caramelization, you get naturally sweeter espresso.

Admittedly, this is not our invention. Using naturally sweet, high-altitude coffee beans is the standard for Italian espresso.

Italian coffee roasting extends the phases of the roast during which caramelization takes place.

Caramelization happens when natural sugars (carbohydrates) develop as they are exposed to heat.

At Peak Flavor, we extend the caramelization by slowing down the roasting process in the critical phase of the roast.

Admittedly, we did not invent this roasting style. Small batch Italian coffee roasting is all about slowing down the roast to increase the caramel notes in your coffee. It is probably one of the main reasons why Italian espresso became the base for the most popular coffee drinks.

A slow, small batch medium dark roast with extended caramelization characterizes an authentic Italian espresso roast.

At Peak Flavor, we roast in 3 different ways for Italian expresso, depending on what drink you use the espresso base for.

Our first roast is simply for espresso or ristretto.

Our second Italian espresso roast is for Italian Cafe latte, cappuccino and macchiato. The roast is a little longer, to make sure you have full espresso flavor after adding milk and milk foam.

Our third espresso roast is for Italian Americano. In this case the slow roast is extended during caramelization to make sure the caramel notes come through also after you add a bit more water.

Try our Italian coffee collection for espresso, ristretto, Latte, Cappuccino, Macchiato, or Americano.

When you aim to use your Italian espresso as a base for latte or cappuccino, you need your espresso machine to dissolve and extract all the available sugars and caramel notes.

The way to optimize espresso machine extraction for more natural sweetness is by adjusting the grind.

At Peak Flavor Coffee, we custom grind your Italian espresso for latte, cappuccino and macchiato. We adjust by grinding just a little finer than for straight Italian espresso. A finer grind ensures that you can notice the sweetness also after you add milk or milk foam.

No. Coffee strength and roast darkness are different concepts and are not necessarily related.

Coffee strength simply refers to how many coffee grinds are dissolved and extracted by your coffee maker and end up in your cup. Just like the alcohol level in a beer, coffee strength is expressed as a percentage of grinds to water in your cup.

A darker roast is more brittle and porous, which makes it easier for your coffee maker to dissolve and extract different flavors and aromas. But this does not necessarily add to coffee strength.

At Peak Flavor, we steer away from extra dark roasts because the extra roasting may cause burnt notes to dominate the more subtle sweetness of naturally sweet coffee beans.

Our Italian espresso roast is a little darker than medium roast. But we avoid roasting to second crack because it would cause bitterness in your coffee.

The brew ratio for an authentic Italian espresso is 14 grams of coffee to 28 grams of water.

At Peak Flavor Coffee, we recommend using a little more coffee (finer) grounds for latte, cappuccino, and macchiato.

Crema is simply the Italian word for cream.

Crema is the natural head of foam that forms on top of an espresso when your coffee roast is fresh.

Espresso is brewed under pressure, which dissolves the gas that was formed during coffee roasting. As time passes after coffee roasting, the coffee naturally loses these gasses in a process called degassing. If coffee roasting happened recently, a lot of gas is still present and thick, abundant crema on top of your espresso will be the result.

A dense layer of crema is a good indication that your coffee is freshly roasted.

Abundant cream makes your Italian espresso sweet, mild and creamy.