Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

Main Page This family-friendly site celebrates Italian culture for the enjoyment of children and adults. Site-Overview



Italian Coffee, Tea and Chocolate, Coffee Brands, The Moka


Italian Food



Wine Liquors





The Moka - Versus the Bar

How to Use the Moka

Lavazza, Segafredo, Illy...

Lavazza Ad Campaigns

Tea and Chocolate

Italian Specialty Foods On-Line

























































































Coffee stimulates not only the mind, but it can stimulate obsessions too, about coffee.  I tried to explain this to a woman as I was teaching her to prepare espresso with a Moka.  

I told her, to her obvious disbelief, that an Italian man would marry any woman who knew how to make the perfect espresso. 

Just at that moment, an Italian man passed through the kitchen (to check on the coffee making, I suppose).  He looked over our shoulders at the Moka just about ready to go over the low flame.  He murmured his approval and then whispered longingly, "Marry me!"  

After that moment, I was a god in that woman's eyes about everything Italian.




The Moka Versus the Bar - How to Use

While Italians use the Moka at home, they all admit that the best espressos are made at the neighborhood coffee bars by trained and diploma-holding baristas.  It mainly has to do with the freshly ground beans, and the temperature of the steam.  Coffee Bars are about the only places in Italy where fast service is the rule.

Barista with diploma making the best espresso

Part of what makes it so good is that the beans are ground the moment you order the coffee.  Grinders aren't so expensive now, and you'll taste the difference immediately in the coffee you make at home from freshly ground beans.

Here is a link to a grinder at with price, so you can see what I mean.

  My list of Grinders at




How to Use the Moka

Supposedly, and I'm really not a god about this:

  • the slower the Moka makes the coffee the better it is.  
  • So you should use a very low flame, cold water (as pure as possible), 
  • chop the top of the coffee grounds with the side of the spoon (not press it down with the back of the spoon), 
  • and have lots of patience.  


The price varies with design and brand name.  But the quality of coffee is generally the same.  Only some keep the espresso hot longer than others.  Bialetti is considered the top Italian Moka maker. 

Remember, you really should drink the Moka cofee right away--espresso!

My list of Mokas at

Some people like to take the first drops of coffee that come up and pour it out quickly into an espresso cup, add a spoon of sugar, and stir it to make a sugary foam, then pour in the coffee when it is ready.

Bialetti has a "cappuccinomaker" that has you put the coffee, water and milk in the Moka to get your cappuccino.  It's called a Mukka Express Cappuccinomaker.  I like the cow print one.


But I think Bialetti's more original design, is the one that allows you to make your Moka like a Barista.  You can see the coffee steaming out directly into your cup!

The same item via is more expensive, but includes the two cups that are the just the right size so there are no splatters on your stovetop.


If you want to dream, or have plenty to spend on espresso machines, look here at my collection of luxury espresso machines.

And Visit my Coloring Pages for images of a Moka for children to color.



Lavazza, Segafredo, Illy...

Lavazza is the most popular coffee brand in Italy in the home market.  The bars prefer Segafredo.  I prefer Illy.  

Each has a slightly different blend or roast.  Lavazza is slightly bitter.  Lavazza, Italy's home favorite, a sharp flavored coffee blend.

 The Lavazza Store at

My list of Lavazza at

Illy is smooth and almost sweet.  Illy Caffé, a smooth Arabica bean roast, my favorite.  

Illy has an online store that sells coffee makers and coffee and cups in the U.S.

 My list of Illy at

Segafredo is somewhere in the middle between smooth and bitter.  Segafredo is the Coffee Bar's favorite.




Lavazza Ad Campaigns

One reason Lavazza is the number one brand in Italy is their highly creative television advertising campaigns that have been entertaining Italians as long as commercials have appeared on Italian TV.  

The earliest TV commercials were shown during what was called the Carosello, or carousel, that would appear at the end of the television viewing evening (which was early in the early days of TV!).  There is a whole generation of Italians who knew it was bedtime when the Carosello came on TV.

The late actor Nino Manfredi starred in a series of comic commercials for many years for Lavazza, but was eventually replaced by a group of famous Italians including Bud Spencer of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer fame.  

The wonderful Nino Manfredi from his popular TV ad campaign for Lavazza coffee

The current series features two men who die and go to an Italian's fantasy heaven.  It's a place where you can drink coffee in perpetuity and never suffer any adverse side-effects.  That is St. Peter showing them the ropes in the photos below.  And of course, the coffee you drink in heaven is Lavazza!  

Lavazza's latest TV ad campaign featuring an Italian idea of  heaven, a place where you can drink Lavazza coffee all day long with no adverse side-effects

Here's a clip of a Manfredi Lavazza commercial for you to enjoy via YouTube.  Click on the lower left arrow to play the video.



Here's one from the new series.



The company has one of the most creative websites I've ever seen.  Each item you select, and there are many, is a multimedia show in itself.  Click here to go to the opening window of the Lavazza site.  Once there, just click on their coffee cup to start the show.



Tea and Chocolate

There are not many tea drinkers in Italy, at least not at the level of coffee drinkers.  Herbal teas are growing in popularity, but herbal everything have always been available in Italy at the Erboristerie.  

A woman in Torino told me the story of a friend of hers who married an Englishman.  The first time her friend entertained the man's mother, she prepared a pot of tea that she had learned how to make just for that occasion.  

What she didn't realize was that the milk served with tea should be served cold, unlike the warm milk served with Italian coffee.  The result?  She succeeded in severely scalding her new mother-in-law's mouth!  The poor woman couldn't taste a thing for the rest of her visit to Italy.

Italians do drink hot chocolate, however, and it is made by the knowledgeable barista in a very special way.  He uses the milk whipping canister and adds two spoonfuls of pure powdered chocolate and one spoonful of white flour to the whole milk.  

Then he whips it with the steam nozzle on the espresso machine (on the stove you just whisk it) until the drink blends and thickens.  You add the sugar to taste after it's served.  It is a cross between a hot chocolate and a chocolate pudding, and it's the best thing to warm you up on a cold winter's day.  Yes, it does get cold in winter in some parts of Italy.

You can learn a lot about chocolate in Perugia, Italy, where, of course, the barista always uses Perugina chocolate.  

The factory is now owned by Nestle who have a site that can tell you everything you might want to know about Perugina and Baci, Perugina's chocolate kisses each wrapped in a famous quote, including where to buy their products.  Click here to go to the opening page of the Nestle site.



And if you want to purchase some, but don't have an Italian store nearby, here are some available from

 My list of Perugina at



Italian Specialty Foods On-Line

You can use this Search tool to check for all brands of coffees, or other specialty food items, if you'd like.  

And here are two a direct links to books all about coffee.




Just enter 'Gourmet Food' in the 'Search' field, and the name of the product in the 'Keyword' field.  Then click on the 'Go' button.  (The coffee makers and grinders are under the 'Kitchen and Housewares' 'Search' category.)


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