Coffee in Italy

How many cups of coffee have you already drunk so far today while you have been at work?  It seems coffee is becoming more and more popular in our country, yet it is also a drink that is enjoyed in many countries, with its many variations!

Maybe the English have been better known for offering someone a cup of tea, nevertheless the rise of coffee shops on the high street is an indication of shifting habits.  It amuses me when I ask for an ‘espresso’ in this country I am often told “you realise that is a little coffee and it is very strong?”

Italians are very particular about their coffee, and although don’t drink as many cups a day as the British might, insist on “real” coffee.  It is not only a beverage, but a ritual and an established habit, something that builds ties and social relations.  It can be enjoyed at the counter in a hurry, or you can sit down and chat at the same time.  If you order a cappuccino in the afternoon or after a meal you must be a foreigner!

Italians, however, maintain the ritual of the “cup of coffee” at home as well and you may have noticed the convivial habit to invite someone to “have a coffee”. The coffee at home certainly won’t be made with water from a kettle, but rather with a moka, which every Italian household will possess (possibly even more than one, in different sizes). Do you know how real coffee is made with a moka? You first pour the right amount of water (do not go over the inside valve) in the bottom part, then add the ground coffee in the filter without pressing it and finally put it on the stove. When the coffee starts making the typical hum that signals that it is ready, your kitchen will also fill with the aroma of great coffee!  You are then ready to pour it into the cup and enjoy the moment of pleasure and relaxation.

The coffee ritual is so well embedded in Italian habits that in Naples and in some other parts of Italy, you might even come across a “suspended coffee”. Do you know what that is? It‘s a coffee that has already been paid for by a previous customer that can be claimed by someone later on. A nice and very generous tradition, typical of southern Italy. Maybe sooner or later you too will drink a cup of suspended coffee!

Posted on by Elizabeth Lake in Uncategorized