“La vita e gia amara. Almeno metti lo zucchero al caffe.” So says an old Italian friend from Abruzzo: “Life is bitter enough. At least put sugar in your coffee.”
For palates used to third-wave coffee in Sydney and Melbourne – with the emphasis on roasting light to bring out the fruity and acidic flavours of specialty-grade beans – bitter is certainly the word on a coffee pilgrimage to Italy, the spiritual home of espresso.
The roasts are darker, and the coffee sometimes a blend of arabica and robusta beans (especially in the south), with the resulting brews quite bitter, even in comparison to Italian-style roasts in Australia, which now use almost exclusively arabica beans.