The entire time I've spent in Italy -- not one espresso with any
trace of bitterness. Every cup of coffee was excellent to my taste."
The industrial grinders they use to pre grind all of that espresso you were drinking give extremely consistent grinds, and the packaging lets it sit on shelves for months at a time. It's not even particularly high-quality coffee.
Don't take my word for it though:
In Italy, espresso is a mass consumption item, mostly made from
coffees of the same low quality as is found in supermarkets
everywhere. Since the aromas of such coffees are not all that
great, staling is of little consequence, while keeping doses
precise and yields high is of great consequence, since one
needs to extract every iota of caramel to make the shots
palatable. So the ground coffee sits in dosers going stale,
but is precisely dosed, 6.5 grams into single baskets, 13
What this also means is that I should be able to buy the same packets and have access to Italian espresso.
This also makes bad American office coffee even more exasperating. Why is it that US office coffee is so often sour and trashy tasting? Why is it that Italians can do it, but Americans fail? I suspect it's because the former population doesn't care so much.