How to make Authentic Italian Coffee | #coffee #espresso #italian

How to Make Authentic Italian Coffee

Posted on September 28, 2011

To make authentic Italian coffee all you need is a moka pot also known as a macchinetta (literally “small machine”).

You can create a Caffe Macchiato, Caffe Latte, and a Cappuccino. The difference between them is how much milk you use and if it is steamed or foamed.

Italian Coffee Vocabulary & Definitions:

Espresso is a strong coffee with a thicker consistency. It is a base for other drinks, such as a latte, cappuccino, and macchiato.

Espresso con Macchiato (also called Caffè Macchiato)
This is an espresso with a “spot” of hot milk. Macchiato literally means mark. The espresso is marked with a spot of hot milk.

Caffè latte
This translates to coffee with milk. This is just an espresso served with steamed (hot) milk.

This is an espresso with steamed milk and then topped off with foamed milk. The layers are: Bottom third espresso, middle third hot milk, top third foamed milk.

NOTE: You don’t really drink a cappuccino after 10:30 a.m. It is only for breakfast. After 10:30 a.m. everyone switches to espresso.

The reason I was taught this is because drinking warm milk during the day will make you sick and it isn’t good for your digestion.

Another Note: Italians are a bit crazy about their digestion. What to eat, what not to eat – it goes on and on.

Now here’s what you will need to make an Italian Coffee:

Bialetti Espresso Maker
– Espresso Coffee Grinds (I like Lavazza)
– Sugar
– A handheld milk frother (If you decide to make a cappuccino)
– Milk (If you decide to make a macchiato, latte, or cappuccino)

Preparation: Italian Coffee

1. First you will break down the moka pot into it’s 3 parts. Fill the bottom part with very cold water to the rim.

How to make Authentic Italian Coffee | #coffee #Espresso #italian

2. Fill the filter with the grinds to the top of the rim (do not pack it in).

How to make Authentic Italian Coffee | #coffee #Espresso #italian

3. Next float the filter with the grinds on top of the water (see pic below).

How to make Authentic Italian Coffee | #coffee #Espresso #italian

4. Next screw the top part on tightly and put it on the stove with medium to low heat.

How to make Authentic Italian Coffee | #coffee #Espresso #italian

NOTE. While you are waiting on it to percolate take a regular coffee cup and fill with about 3 to 4 teaspoons of sugar. 

How to make Authentic Italian Coffee | #coffee #Espresso #italian

5. When it starts to percolate pour about 2 to  3 teaspoons of the espresso into the sugar and with a spoon  stir fast to break it down.

NOTE: this will make sugar for about 3 cups of espresso. 

How to make Authentic Italian Coffee | #coffee #Espresso #italian

Note: put the moka pot back onto the stovetop until it is finished and then you take it off the heat.

6. Stir fast until you have a light caramel color like this

How to make Authentic Italian Coffee | #coffee #Espresso #italian

7. Now that you have your creama you can take a teaspoon of it and add it to a separate espresso cup. 

How to make Authentic Italian Coffee | #coffee #Espresso #italian

8. Pour the espresso into this cup and stir, you will see a caramel color surface to the top and now you have a beautiful coffee to drink!

How to make Authentic Italian Coffee  #coffee #Espresso #italian

Now remember if you want to turn this espresso (Italian Coffee) into:

– Caffe Macchiato, you add a spot of hot milk
– Caffe Latte, you add about 1/2 cup of hot milk
– Cappuccino, you add a layer of hot milk, and a layer of foamed milk (1/3 each)

That’s It! Now you are can be your own personal Barista at home!

What Others Are Saying

  1. melatonin September 29, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Before reading this never thought that I would be able to make such coffee ever.But now after reading this surly going to try this process.Thanks.

  2. Abigail October 17, 2011 at 5:35 am

    Great post! I was always wondering how to make my espresso creamy on top, and now I know :)

    • Emnme January 29, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Right!!!! This is they answer we’ve been looking for “creama”!!!

      • Carrie Pacini February 3, 2016 at 7:11 pm

        I know it’s the key to a great coffee.

  3. Marla October 23, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Right?! I was clueless too.

  4. Carrie Pacini October 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Abigail – it is super simple and makes for a great espresso.

  5. Christine November 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Love this! My husband loves espresso and drinks full coffee cups of it! I even bought him some espresso cups for Christmas.. we will def be trying this out. thank you!

  6. Carrie Pacini November 9, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    @Christine he will love it. My family and friends in Italy still use this method at home. It makes a spectacular espresso- hope you both enjoy it!

  7. Nanci November 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I just returned from 3 weeks of fantastic cappucinos and lattes in Italy. Thank you for these recipes!

    • Carrie Pacini November 10, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Your Welcome Nanci! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do :)

  8. milena December 16, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Nice post :).
    I’m italian and I use this way to prepare my coffee everyday! xD
    I think this is the best way ;)

    • Carrie Pacini December 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Thanks Milena, I agree you can’t get a better cup of coffee then this :)

  9. Robert January 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Hi. I got a little confused after step 4 you have a note saying pour 2 teaspoonfuls in then in 5 you say add 3 teaspoons full. Are these seperate ie add 5 or is it same step. Many thanx looks great.

    • Carrie Pacini January 2, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Hi Robert, sorry for the confusion! I meant to put 2 to 3 teaspoons of the espresso into the sugar so you can make the creama that you see in the pictures. I will update it :)

  10. Serene January 8, 2014 at 4:47 am

    This is great! I actually fell in love with this sort of coffee while in Spain and purchased my own espresso maker as soon as I got back. Question– what if I only want to make, say, 2 cups? Should I just 2/3 everything? 1 cup? 1/3?

    • Carrie Pacini January 8, 2014 at 8:17 am

      Hi Serene, In general if you just want to make 2 cups of espresso I would still make the entire espresso in the Moka Pot and then only use 2 teaspoons of sugar to make the creama. If you are adding milk to make the different styles of coffee I have it listed for 1 serving. For 2 you would double that part of the recipe up. To make a caffe latte for 2 people you would need 1 cup of hot milk that is split between 2 servings. I hope I answered your question! If not just reply here and let me know what I missed.

  11. charis fitchett April 13, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    I have an induction stove so I don’t this moka pot will work. Is it magnetic? What can I use instead.

    • Carrie Pacini April 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      It’s my understanding that it is not good to put a Moka Pot on and induction stove. But check with the manufacture of your particular brand.

    • Godnil October 21, 2014 at 6:24 am

      I think moka pots can be used on induction stove too. Got italian G.A.T moka pot and it is possible to use it on it, and I also use it on induction stove. Not just me but also other guys here at the dorm use their pots on induction stove so it is probably OK. But as Carrie mentioned check manual for your moka pot.

      • Carrie Pacini October 29, 2014 at 6:58 pm

        Thanks for your insight :)

  12. Jennifer C Velez December 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Hello Carrie,

    I ran across this wanting to learn how to make authentic Italian espresso and it was tremendously helpful. For the sugar, I use coconut palm crystals and the milk (I LOVE caffe lattes) I use unsweetened almond milk. I put a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cocoa powder in the milk and whisk it and it is the best latte I have ever had. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Carrie Pacini December 21, 2014 at 9:55 am

      You are welcome!

  13. Anna Marie Janssens January 22, 2015 at 7:45 am

    I spent two months in Sicily Sept and Oct 2014 and had the best cappuccino. I’m trying to recreate here. love your instructions!
    How long do I percolate expresso?
    Where can I buy cappuccino cups.

    Anna Marie

    • Carrie Pacini January 22, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Hi Anna Marie, 2 months in Sicily sounds dreamy right now! Once it starts to percolate to the top you are good to go. Probably just a minute once it starts. In regards to cappuccino cups you can find them just about anywhere unless you are looking for a specific type. Sur la Table, Bed Bath and Beyond, Possibly Target.

  14. Kimberly July 23, 2015 at 11:38 am

    I was wonder why all of the water from the bottom never gets to the top? I’m I doing something wrong? In a 3 shot kettle I get about a tablespoon of done espresso.

    • Carrie Pacini July 24, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Hi Kimberly, Make sure you have the heat up high so it will percolate all of the water to the top.

  15. Ashley Cowles August 5, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I studied abroad in Italy for 4 months and fell in love with the coffee! Now that I’m home, a cup of coffee from my Keurig just isn’t the same. I can’t wait to try this!

    • Carrie Pacini August 19, 2015 at 11:29 am

      I know! It really isn’t the same. I hope this helps you as you settle in at home ;)

  16. Hitesh January 5, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for the great guide! Would you suggest a substitute for sugar for folks who do not take sugar?


    • Carrie Pacini January 5, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Hi Hitesh, I don’t have a sugar substitute for the Creama and have zero experience with using sugar substitutes. My thoughts would be to research and find one that is close to the texture of sugar BUT again I have no idea how the sweetness would translate.

  17. Carol F. September 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve been making espresso in my little Moka Express for about forty years, and I never knew how to make the creama. Thank you!

    • Carrie Pacini December 28, 2016 at 11:14 am

      Your Welcome!

  18. Adam Mittleman January 22, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you for this article. Not only did I learn about a Moka, but I got the 3 Cup one, a small portable campsite burner and the Lavazza beans that I grind fresh. After a few trials, I found the right amount of pack and my espresso is just like I had in Bellagio, Italy. Great article.

    • Carrie Pacini January 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Your Welcome!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *