I discovered good coffee on our first trip to Italy in 2001. Despite having only a backpack with which to carry home souvenirs, we brought home a package of Lavazza and a can of Illy. These were the two brands our fellow train passengers debated about being the best when we brought up how good coffee in Italy was. One of these new friends, Vincenzo, also drew us a diagram of how a moka (percolator) pot worked, so we bought a shiny moka pot at Shaki in Piazza di Spagna in Rome. And just to test our backpacks’ limits we also brought home a set of 6 espresso cups and saucers.
When I took a sip of Delta coffee on the return flight home I instantly realized why our new friends had referred to American coffee with disgust as ‘dirty water.’ The coffee snobbery had begun.
Eventually of course I got used to American coffee again but I became what my mom calls’ picky’ about it (I prefer to refer to it as ‘discerning’). And each time we land in Europe my first gleeful stop is for some vibrant and powerful espresso or coffee.
I introduced my friend Holly to Italian coffee last year and though she didn’t love it like I do (she’s never been a coffee drinker, good for her) she saw first-hand my obsession with the rich addictive stuff. So my Christmas present this year (exchanged last weekend) was a can of Illy and a darling orange coffee cup adorned with a Pomeranian (the other love of my life). I had the time this morning to dust off my moka pot, grind my beans and prepare my Illy on my new gas stove. A heaping spoon of sugar in the cup, topped with the steaming and perfect Illy, crowned with freshly frothed cream was the ideal start to a Saturday morning. I can dream I’m back in Italy while I savor it.
Grazie mille, Holly!