Coffee in North America
Country you go, culture you find. Also in terms of coffee. If you are in North America, in New York for example, forget the social ritual of the Italian coffee break. In the Big Apple, in fact, coffee is a drink to sip while walking, while you usually go to work. For this you drink in large hard-wearing cups of paper or polystyrene, with a lid and a slot for drinking. You can choose the size of the container (small, medium or large) and add a whole range of ingredients to enrich your drink. They range from all types of sugar, to powders (cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, …) to milk and various creams (hazelnut, vanilla, caramel, …). One of the combinations that Americans like best is called “half & half”, that is half milk and half cream.
Difference between American coffee and filtered coffee
what coffee do you use to make these drinks? In this regard it is essential to first define the difference between the “American coffee” that is drunk in Italy with the one you drink in America. The first, made in Italy, is nothing but a longer espresso, that is diluted with boiling water. The typical Neapolitan espresso cream disappears, but the aroma and taste of coffee remain intact. Instead, what you drink in America is a filtered coffee, that is prepared by infusion of coffee powder (from medium grinding) into boiling water. To do this we use special machines with filters, in paper or other materials, which hold the solid particles and make the water pass. The “filter coffee” is certainly less concentrated than the classic Italian espresso and therefore contains less caffeine for the same amount. But if one of our cups is about 30 ml, the large size in America contains 350 ml of drink so the alarm is guaranteed!
Coffee in Central America and in South America
Even in Central and South America the preparation methods are roughly the same as those used in the North, but coffee takes on particular characteristics based on the typical characteristics of the area. In Mexico, for example, the “Caffè de olla” is drunk: it is poured into earthenware containers and cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and chocolate crumbs are added. In Cuba, however, “Cortadito” is very widespread, espresso with a small amount of hot milk. In Colombia, one of the variants of the drink is called “chaqueta”, or a short black coffee stretched with “agua de panela”, a syrup made with raw cane sugar and hot water. In Brazil, finally, in the morning you drink the “cafè cum leite”, while the rest of the day you prefer the “cafezinhos”, perhaps the most similar to our coffee.
If you want to know a particular type of coffee that is grown in America you can read our article Huehuetenango: the coffee that defies heights.