Stories > The secret behind a great cup of coffee (no one has told you about)
The secret behind a great cup of coffee (no one has told you about)

The secret behind a great cup of coffee (no one has told you about)

Published 2021-03-04 by Peter Ternström

Do you think that a great cup of coffee is all about the beans and the most expensive machine you can find? Think again. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I have become an espresso nerd. From drinking instant coffee with milk every morning, it is now a tradition to head to the village cafe and have one shot of super-strong espresso. One shot. That's it. Then I walk back home with a pleasant coffee buzz to start a productive day writing blog posts and total clickbait like this.

The routine looks like this: At the big marble bar at the cafe, I order an espresso. It always costs exactly one euro, the standard price for a coffee all over Italy, except for St Marks square in Venice, Portofino harbour and Capri island. There it costs five euros, minimum.

Two minutes later my small cup arrives. It is steaming hot. I raise the cup to my face and take a deep sniff from the cup. The strong aroma hits my nostrils. The beautiful rich smell of Italian coffee. Nothing can beat it an early morning.

The coffee is really warm. I have to wait for a moment. I let the little shot cup rest on the bar. Watching it. Anticipating the next moment, when I get that blissful hit.

First, a second deep whiff, the aroma filling my nasal cavity. Then I chug down the entire shot of espresso in one go.

The sensation is astonishing. The combination of aroma and taste of coffee is amazing. It is as if your soul and your mind are kick-started and ready for a new day.

I don't fancy Starbucks or variants of coffee with milk, or god forbid it, cinnamon or vanilla. I just have plain espresso, and that's it.

In recent years, I have spent a lot of time in Italy. I have slowly grown to learn how a great espresso should taste. The aroma is important. It must have that rich smell. However, at least for me, the taste should absolutely be bitter. A wonderful bitter aftertaste is what separates a mediocre from a fantastic coffee. This is my opinion.

It is quite difficult to get a good espresso anywhere outside Italy. This is not because the baristas are incompetent, or because they use cheap coffee machines. No, it actually depends on something completely different.

To make a perfect espresso, three things are required: great coffee beans, a good enough machine and - pause for drama - a particular type of water. The water the cafe has access to (in the tap) has a tremendous impact on the taste. Much more than any brand of coffee beans or exclusive espresso machines will ever admit.

Italy, and especially in the northern part, has fantastic water to make coffee from. Someone explained it to me. It is about the amount of lime rock content in the water they pump from the ground and use in the taps. This is why coffee tastes so good in Italy.

As a side note, espresso also tastes amazing in New York City. Guess why? It is because the chemical composition of the tap water in the big apple is very similar to the water in Tuscany.

There's one more thing. A secret. Are you ready to become better informed than 90 per cent of your friends? Here we go.

Your cup of espresso has a taste from the last 200 shots made before in the same machine. A machine that makes just a few cups per day can never produce fantastic coffee. There will be stale coffee and water going bad in the inner pipes and tubing in the machine. The water left in the system develops a bad taste and contaminates the next cup. The process is much quicker than you think. The machine must make coffee all the time, without rest, for the best result.

The more cups of espresso made in the same machine per day, the better the taste. That is why the world's by far the best espresso is found along the Italian motorways. At the roadside cafes, like Autogrill. Nowhere else in the world do the machines make the same crazy amount of coffee in one day. Try it and you will understand. It is exactly one euro and it will rock your world.

Peter Ternström
peter@granturismo.org
Subscribe to our newsletter

The latest news and stories. All the best roads, hotels and restaurants. Invitations to exciting events. Be the first to know by subscribing to our newsletter.

Mondo Gran Turismo

The latest news and stories from the world of Gran Turismo

The greatest April Fools' joke ever
The greatest April Fools' joke ever
The digital nomad’s guide to Montenegro
The digital nomad’s guide to Montenegro
Austria to implement their own vaccination passport
Austria to implement their own vaccination passport
Digital Green Certificates are happening
Digital Green Certificates are happening
Sardinia is our new destination for 2022
Sardinia is our new destination for 2022
Happy Birthday to Lamborghini Countach - 50 years old this week
Happy Birthday to Lamborghini Countach - 50 years old this week
Why you should spend your next winter in Italy
Why you should spend your next winter in Italy
Here is all we know about the coming Ferrari 812 GTO
Here is all we know about the coming Ferrari 812 GTO
How a brand new Ferrari got ruined by a vomiting passenger
How a brand new Ferrari got ruined by a vomiting passenger
The secret behind a great cup of coffee (no one has told you about)
The secret behind a great cup of coffee (no one has told you about)
Six things you may not know about Ferrari
Six things you may not know about Ferrari
Nine highly unethical tips for the psychopath traveller
Nine highly unethical tips for the psychopath traveller
My nine most important advice for an excellent road trip in Europe
My nine most important advice for an excellent road trip in Europe
The new McLaren Artura hybrid car has no reverse gear
The new McLaren Artura hybrid car has no reverse gear
The epic story behind the Ferrari and Lamborghini rivalry
The epic story behind the Ferrari and Lamborghini rivalry
The five reasons we absolutely love Portofino
The five reasons we absolutely love Portofino
The 52 different types of Police in Italy
The 52 different types of Police in Italy
What it’s like driving a supercar in Italian traffic
What it’s like driving a supercar in Italian traffic
The most important beauty contest in the world - Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
The most important beauty contest in the world - Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
Here are the top twelve roads in Europe with a Ferrari or Lamborghini supercar
Here are the top twelve roads in Europe with a Ferrari or Lamborghini supercar
More stories

Testimonials

MR JWW
MR JWW
Media Personality
"Gran Turismo Events are the highlight of my year. I really look ahead to when the weather improves, the road trips begin and the Nurburgring beckons! Gran Turismo runs an event like no one else - I love it"
Fredrik Borgegård
Fredrik Borgegård
Gym chain owner
"Gran Turismo Events is the best thing that has happened to me. It is relaxed, a lot of driving and many fantastic participants."
Philipp König
Philipp König
Nürburgring Hero
"Gran Turismo's annual event on the Nürburgring is of epic proportions. Without a doubt the best supercar event on the track, that I really look forward to every year."
Fredrik Huldt
Fredrik Huldt
Motor journalist
"Not joining Gran Turismo Events at least once a year should be punishable by law."
The Drivers Collection

Events Calendar

Beautiful road trips and famous racing tracks since 2002. Supercars only.

Gran Turismo Riviera
8-13 June 2021
Forte dei Marmi - Portofino - Monaco - St Tropez
Gran Turismo Due Miglia
16-19 June 2021
Viareggio - Grosetto - Arezzo - Florence - Bologna
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Polonia
1-7 July 2021
Wroclaw - Krakow - Warsaw - Poznan
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Adriatica
11-19 July 2021
Slovenia - Croatia - Bosnia - Montenegro - Serbia
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Baltica
20-24 July 2021
Riga, Latvia
Gran Turismo Spa
9-12 August 2021
Spa-Francorchamps
Gran Turismo Europa
28 August - 5 September 2021
Kitzbuhel - Cortina - St Moritz - Monaco - St Tropez
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Nurburgring
6-9 September 2021
Nurburgring, Germany
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Italia
11-19 September 2021
Trieste - Cortina - Como - Modena - Chianti - Rome
Gran Turismo Toscana
5-10 October 2021
Maranello - Florence - Grosseto - Lucca
Gran Turismo St Moritz
January 2022
St Moritz, Switzerland
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Sardinia
15-20 June 2022
Sardinia, Italy
Contact us

While our head offices are in Geneva, Switzerland, the team is spread throughout Europe: Sweden, Poland, Italy and Croatia. Please select the appropriate team member to contact below.

For general enquiries, you can always use info@granturismo.org. For event registrations, please use registry@granturismo.org.

Peter Ternstrom Peter Ternström
President
+46 (0)70 530 06 89
Justyna Weclawiak Justyna Weclawiak
Head of event organisation
+48 509 706 651
Michal Weclawiak Michal Weclawiak
Event coordinator - General
‭+48 602 134 467‬
Chiara Mannucci Chiara Mannucci
Event coordinator - Italy
+39 346 763 22 74
Zdravko Anticic Zdravko Anticic
Event coordinator - Balkans
+385 (0)91 917 32 77
Pietro Bonuccelli Pietro Bonuccelli
Supercar fleet manager
‭+39 349 888 33 89‬
Marcin Jellinek Marcin Jellinek
PR and Media
+48 519 189 081
Joakim Niss Joakim Niss
Head of merchandise
‭+46 (0)70 468 60 75‬
James Holm James Holm
Photography
+46 (0)70 713 71 42