Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Coffee Break

“I took another slug of my coffee—like most of my old boyfriends, it was strong, dark, Italian and slightly bitter. . .” Rosie Genova, Murder and Marinara

Ah, the smell of #coffee, it's so good I would love to be able to drink it.  Yes, for some strange reason coffee doesn't agree with me.  And what a pity that is, since I would love to walk into a #bar and order "un caffe per favore".  I would also avoid the looks I get when I tell people I don't drink coffee.  How could you not!!  For an Italian it's unthinkable, unimaginable to go through life without coffee.  Actually I've seen 11 year olds drink #decaffeinated versions of #cappuccino for breakfast.  Yep, an Italian citizen in the making.

So what is the deal with coffee?  Here in Italy, coffee is drank for breakfast at the bar, standing, on your way to work or to where ever you go in the morning.  And there are so many types of coffee! Here are some of the most popular ones:

Un Caffé: is an espresso.  Nobody orders an espresso, if you order a coffee is assumed to be an espresso.
Un Caffé Doppio: A double espresso.
Un Caffé Ristretto: A short shot of espresso (less water).
Un Caffé Macchiato: Is an espresso with a splash of milk, normally foamed milk.
Un Capuccino: A third of milk, a third of espresso and a third of foam, ONLY to be drank in the morning, before 10 am preferably.
Una Moka: Coffee made from a macchinetta,  a special pot that works on the stovetop.
Un Marrocchino: Is an espresso with powder chocolate and a splash of milk
Un Americano:  An espresso watered down.
Un Caffé Corretto: An espresso with a shot of liquor normally grappa or zambuca.
Un Caffé Shakerato:  Ice cubes, a Baileys-type liquor and a shot (or two) of espresso.
Un Latte Macchiato: Is milk with a splash of coffee.

Decaff wanna-be's (and my new found best friends):
Any of the above but with the word "decaffeinato" at the end.  All types made with decaff coffee.
Orzo or Ginseng: coffee looking beverages without caffeine.

And don't forget to say "Per Favore" (please) after your order.

Coffee is such a ritual here in Italy that the good coffee bars warm up the porcelain cups so when the coffee is poured into them the temperature of the beverage will remain hot.  If they would pour it into a cold cup it will automatically lower the temperature of the coffee and that is not acceptable.  Some drink it out of a glass because the flavor is supposed remain unchanged by the glass.

Coffee is a very social part of the day.  Most people stop at the same bar (coffee bar) everyday, where the #barista knows them by name.  They also know which bars are the better ones and everyone has a favorite.  Coffee is drank again at mid-morning, after lunch, mid-afternoon and after dinner.

Coffee is drank at 10:00 am at the beach in a hot steamy day.  Because, no #Italian can go about their day without a coffee break.  It's time for mine, arrivederci!


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