In Italy, cafe is synonymous with espresso. Making it at home requires investment in an espresso machine and a coffee grinder, but if a hit of intensely rich caffeine in the morning is your idea of coffee heaven, it's worth every penny.
Grinding the beans is the first step toward great espresso. You need a uniform powder-fine grind. You can get close with an inexpensive blade grinder but to achieve a true consistency, you need a burr grinder.
Espresso machines extract flavor by forcing high-pressure water through a compressed puck of coffee very quickly. Compacting the grounds into the basket, or puck, is essential to a great pull of espresso. The coffee should be compressed enough to hold its shape but not so hard that the water flows around it rather than through the grounds.
Once you've inserted the coffee, the machine does the rest.
Press pot coffee is the direct opposite of espresso. It requires a coarse grind and is made entirely by hand.
A French press pot consists of a glass or plastic carafe and a plunger assembly. Put the ground beans in the bottom of the pot, fill with hot -- but not boiling -- water, and steep for 5 minutes. Slowly press the plunger down through the coffee, filtering out the ground beans.
The resulting cup is less harsh and acidic than typical drip brew.
Turkish or Greek Coffee
Turkish or Greek coffee is steeped in tradition and ceremony, and is unlike any other cup of coffee you might have had. It is made on the stovetop and is brewed with sugar and spices as well as ground coffee. Unlike other types of European coffee, the grounds are not filtered out of Turkish or Greek coffee.
The resulting cup is thick and sweet and served in small portions.
The Irish added a boozy spin to coffee in the 1940s, turning it from a morning wake up to an after-dinner cocktail. An Irish coffee is a sweet and creamy concoction you can easily prepare at home.
Pour 6 ounces of hot coffee into a heatproof glass or mug. Add a teaspoon of sugar and a shot of Irish whiskey. Top with whipped cream.
Use plain white sugar, honey, brown sugar or agave nectar in your Irish coffee.