Espresso Con Pana is an Italian original now popular in the U.S.
Espresso by itself is a dark, robust blend of coffee bean perfection. The drink that put Italy on the map has been transformed by some of the top coffee sellers in the world into many different varieties. But one such blend is just as well known as espresso by itself, and that is espresso con panna.
The Italian drink is translated as, “espresso with cream“. After the espresso is created through high pressured hot water then sweet homemade whipped cream is added. And of course if you do not want the added sugar then the cream by itself is just enough to take the bite out of the dark coffee taste.
The espresso con panna is a favorite in the United States. In fact, Starbucks has it on the menu, which can be made with one, two or three shots. Because of it’s bitter taste this drink may not be for everyone, especially if you enjoy tasting less of the coffee and more of the filler. But for the robust taste buds this drink is a creamy delight and very simple to make.
Until 1554 to 1555 coffeehouses did not exist nor did coffee for that matter. In the city of Constantinople a man by the name of Hakam from Aleppo and a woman by the name of Sems from Damascus came to the city and started the craze, so it is said, of Turkish Coffee. The Turkish word for breakfast , kahvalti means before coffee.
One of the best things about Turkish Coffee, besides the thick sweet end result, is the vessel it is made in. They are ornate and beautiful and referred to as kanaka. Typically the way it is made is with any kind of finely ground coffee, cardamom, cold water and sugar.
You’ll need a pot which is usually copper with a wooden handle and a teaspoon to stir and measure with. In the old country it was made on a wood fire or a tray filled with sand placed on the fire. When the sand was hot the coffee pot was placed in the sand for better heat transference.
Using sand could get messy in the house so we’ll avoid that step. For each cup of coffee add one to two teaspoons of sugar. In Turkey there are four stages of sweetness; sade meaning no sugar, az sekerli little sugar or half a teaspoon, orta sekerli medium or one teaspoon, and cok sekerli a lot of sugar or one and a half or two teaspoons.
Place the coffee, water and sugar into a pot, stir them slowly and bring to a boil on medium high heat to extract the flavor and then don’t stir anymore. Just as the coffee comes to a boil remove from the heat. Keep off the heat for a short time and repeat the boil two more times. Getting a thick layer of foam is the desired effect and considered an art. Pour slowly and lift the pot high as the pouring continues, it’s the dramatic ritual that makes the coffee all the more enjoyable.
The coffee is served with a chocolate stick and a glass of cold water to freshen the taste buds. The thick sludge at the bottom of cup is not drunk; this is where the fortune-telling comes in. The cup is turned over into the saucer to cool and then the patterns of the grounds are read.