For The Love Of Cof­fee

Ital­ian cof­fee con­nois­seur Et­tore Al­ta­mura spills the beans on Mok­i­talia and his 20-year-long jour­ney to bring the best Ital­ian es­presso ma­chines, cap­sules and beans from Como to Malaysia

Expatriate Lifestyle - - Food For Thought -

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. EL

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