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Gastronomy

Let’s get a cup of coffee Massimo?

If there’s anyone named Massimo, please don’t take this the wrong way. This is an article about coffee – especially Italian coffee – so don’t expect something else.

Coffee’s place in our lives is undeniable… We need the alarm and coffee to wake up in the mornings, we can’t gossip with our best friend without coffee. And there are the famous coffee lies we hear so often. The boss needs coffee to propose a job just as the ladies’ man needs it as an excuse to invite the lady back to his place. Depending on the situation we act convinced.

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In my previous article I mentioned the Tropics and explained it with my wide geography knowledge to those who don’t know. I also wanted to talk about the “Coffee Belt”. Coffee, which has a special place in our lives and which we love so much, only grows between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of capricorn which is called the “Coffee Belt”. Brasil, Vietnam, Indonesia and Etiopia are the world’s foremost coffee producers. I have participated in harvests and tastings in these countries many times. I have discovered on those trips that just like wine grape, coffee beans that grow in different regions have different aromas and stories. Although this information is not news quality, I like the coffee from Vietnam and Etiopia the most.

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Coffee production and aroma differences can get in line to be the topic of another article, what I want to talk about today is Italian coffee and habits of coffee drinking. Honestly the title of this article should’ve been “How to drink coffee like an Italian?”. I do not know where did Massimo come from…

If you ask me, Italians taught the world how to drink coffee with the machines they’ve made. Coffee producers in the tropical coffee belt aside, if coffee has a home in the world it is Italy.

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First Rule:

When ordering a coffee in Italy, never say “large double shot skinny vanilla iced latte”. That order will cause some empty and cold stares if you’re in North Italy and if you’re in the south like Sicily, a well thought swearword. There is only one way to order coffee in Italy; a coffee please!

“Caffe” means hard espresso. If you want to have an espresso with milk you can just say “Macchiato” or if you want to have a milky, foamy coffee to drink for a longer period you can say ‘Cappucino”.

I’d suggest you to stay away from the whole “Latte” business. Latte means milk in Italian. So if you order a Caffe Latte, you will probably be having a glass of milk with a few drops of coffee in it.

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In Italy coffee sizes are also standard like the names. If you use words like “grande, venti” you’d just cause a confusion.

Italians like their coffee “dark roasted, bitter sweet” just like they love their pasta mildly cooked “al dente”. They drink cappucino only in the mornings. Take away is not a familiar term for them. They drink their coffee standing up because they know that if they sit on a table they will be paying more for the same coffee.

In addition with all these, Italian coffee also have some variations, some being regional.

Caffe Corretto: Espresso with some liqueur or grappa

Ristretto: Harder espresso with less water

Cappucino Scuro: Cappucino with less milk

Doppio: Double espresso for hangovers

You can’t find a coffee shop chain or a 3rd wave coffee bar in Italy, but I’d recommend you to visit these places below.

Last but not least, if you’re paying more than 2 Euros for coffee in Italy, you’re getting ripped off. Don’t forget this simple price info and say hi to Massimo for me…

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Torino: Caffe Fiorino

Cosenza: Gran Caffe Renzelli

Venice: Caffe Florian

Rome: Antico Caffe Greco

Florence: Caffe Rivoire

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