An Italian girl’s thoughts about coffee

Life ·

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Before coming to London, the word ‘coffee’ for me had one and only meaning: espresso.

As I am 100% Italian, you can hardly separate me from my moka, the machine for home-made espresso. It’s stronger than me: as soon as I wake up I have to smell the scent of a good, freshly made coffee. I am not myself until I have some.

Until I became an expat I didn’t believe in americano, in instant coffee and of course I thought those ‘tall-skinny-double caramel shot-triple cream-banana-iced-coffee’ were just some American-style crap.

Well, something has changed.

I still wake up feeling as active as a sloth and as cheerful as grumpy cat, and yes, I still do need my home made espresso to kick start the day properly. BUT. Since I work most of the time from bars I have come to appreciate other ways to have coffee too.

  1. Cappuccino anytime – a few years ago I would have ewwed to any person having cappuccino after breakfast. In Italy you rarely have it, you are most likely to ask for a macchiato. If you have a cappuccino the afternoon, people will start speaking in (a very bad) English, mistaking you for a tourist. Well, speak to me in English or German: now I love my afternoon cappuccino!
  2. The joy of flavoured cappuccino –this is evil. Someone might have thought: well, cappuccino is still a ‘lighter’ treat (in a small cup there’s an average of 80 calories) why don’t we make it fat? Deliciously fat? Full of sugars and sweet syrups? And here we are: Caramel Cappuccino. Vanilla Cappuccino. Hazelnut cappuccino. First you resist. Then you try. In the end you wonder why on earth we don’t have the same thing in Italy.
  3. Calorie bomb with some coffee in it: why not? – well, if you have ever entered any of these coffee chains and asked for the most yummy-sounding drink, you know what I mean. Coffee is just an excuse to drink a dessert in a mug. They’re so good they’re addictive. I’m already counting down the days for the all spicy, nutmeg and cinnamon Christmas specials.
  4. Let’s have one litre of coffee – In Italy, we have small sizes for coffee. We have an espresso (wich is way shorter than you think), the double espresso (longer), cappuccino (and believe me, it comes in a very small cup compared to what you expect) and some other variations. Usually, the biggest size you can have for a coffee-based drink is the cappuccino cup. Now picture me when I ask the smallest size at a Starbucks and I get THAT THING. Almost three time the size of an Italian cappuccino. And now picture me when I see the next guy ordering a Large Cappuccino (or Latte, or Flat white) and getting a pint of milk and coffee. Guys, why not directly a coffee drip-feed?
  5. Complicate things (then go back to basics) – here the complete list of what you can usually order in an Italian bar: caffè (espresso), cappuccino, macchiato, marocchino, mocaccino, caffè freddo, americano. That’s it. No fancy syrups, no sizes, no different coffees, no milk choice, no toppings, no flavours. Now I am so used to order a ‘tall soya moka with no cream’ or a ‘small soya latte with double caramel shot’ that I almost forgot the joy of sitting at a bar with my lazy Italian attitude and just order ‘cornetto e cappuccio’ (a croissant and a cappuccino). With all respect with the long-named coffees I have in the UK, I must do it more often 🙂

This post is offered by Currys, who asked me to write something about my love for coffee. Couldn’t say no! Check out their page about coffee inspiration. I am already having a (greedy) look at their coffee machines, so much easier and quick than my beloved moka (can’t live without it though, ideally I would have both!).

If you want, I’m curious to hear some English people’s thoughts about coffee.. how’s your relationship with it?