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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?