Rather than pick up on the don't-we-hate-starbucks thread I thought i'd start a new one. I always thought espresso in Italy is roasted more, not less, than French roast. Talking to a couple of Italians who know their coffee, they said that espresso is toasted dark and the grains should appear oily. I checked out a couple of sites in Italian.and they all say more or less the same thing, though one of them specified that in the north (Milan and as far down as Tuscany) the coffee is toasted less dark, but in the South it's toasted very dark and is oily on the surface. The consensus among Italians that I've always heard (from both north and south) is that the further south you go, the better the coffee is. So, dark is it. The problem with the dark-roast is that the oil, in coming to the surface, can lose aroma, so it should be kept airtight. It also loses a bit of caffeine in the darker roasting. Oh, by the way, they say 30 ml of liquid should come out of the espresso machine. Interestingly enough, Italians generally don't own espresso makers, though you usually don't have to walk more than a block to get an espresso in a bar for a euro or less. At home they almost all use the moka, the little pot with the water and coffee below, and the pipe that brings the brewed coffee to the upper section. Some, in fact, still prefer the Napoletano, which is actually a primitive sort of filter coffee-maker for their breakfast coffee, and some claim it is the best coffee there is (Naples being the gold standard for coffee in most people's minds). Personally, i prefer light roast american coffee, but then, I usually go counter to the trends.