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Food For Thought: Ettore Altamura

by Tania Jayatilaka 14 Apr 2017
Food For Thought: Ettore Altamura

In Italy, we start drinking coffee at 14 years old. Caffé latte – espresso and milk – is an Italian breakfast. In Malaysia you have nasi lemak for breakfast. In Italy, it’s a croissant, a biscuit and a caffé latte. Coffee is an everyday habit: if you have friends coming to your house, you serve espresso. Out on the road, you can stop for espresso at every corner in the big city. Italians don’t normally spend time drinking big cups of coffee while sitting down to read the newspapers or use their phone. They spend less than a minute at a café and stand while having their espresso before leaving.

I really like to drink white coffee in Ipoh. It’s a completely different beverage from an espresso, like the difference between beer and wine. Both are coffee, but the final product is different in taste and preparation. I find that a lot of people here like the concept of high quality espresso capsules and espresso machines from Italy. I looked for a capsule system that would allow anyone to make coffee easily. I also wanted to introduce userfriendly, low-maintenance machines that were not so costly for homes, offices and cafes.

Mokitalia’s machines are designed to simplify how coffee is made. Espresso is very sensitive. In Italy, the coffee grinding may change based on the weather and humidity outside. A good Italian barista will change the setting of the grinder daily depending on the weather for the day, all to make a perfect cup of espresso. However, the coffee capsules and machines simplify that whole process. Each coffee capsule contains seven grams of ground coffee beans that are protected from the effects of the weather.

Instead of having a barista to grind the beans, you just open the machine, insert a capsule and close it. You’ll basically have done the entire job of a barista. The important part is done by the machine: it controls water temperature, which must be at 86 and 88 degrees Celsius for espresso. Going over this temperature means the beans will suffer and burn; going under means the water will not be able to extract the aroma or flavour from the coffee beans. The water pressure from the pump has to be nine bar for espresso. So all the machines we offer do both, and they differ in water tank capacity.

There are capsules for espresso, long black coffee and decaf. Decaf is made with decaffeinated beans for those who prefer a decaf beverage. Two others differ because of the type of coffee used – one is 100 per cent Arabica and the other is blended with Robusta coffee, which is another type of coffee plant. The capsules are from Covim, a forty-yearold Italian coffee roaster. There are over 600 coffee roasters in Italy, but I feel that Covim has the longest experience of consistency in their beans and have a sophisticated system of blending, roasting and packaging the beans. So they were my final choice for capsules.

A lot of coffee-related beverages use espresso as a base. The machine makes the espresso and you can add milk and foam to create a cappuccino. Throw in some caramel syrup to make it a caramel cappuccino. With milk only, it’s a caffé latte. Add in milk and chocolate powder, and you have mocha. There are so many beverages you can make with these machines. My personal favourite? Espresso. Once in a while I’ll have a cappuccino, but normally I only drink espresso. I drink five to seven cups a day. I’ve been drinking it ever since I was seventeen! If I don’t have my cups of coffee for the day, I get worried.

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