I am probably the only Italian who actually appreciate American coffee.
Seriously, I like it, it is different from Italian caffè, but different does not mean bad!
I like the idea of coffee-shop as well and the culture of coffee houses where you can sit reading a book or working for hours and hours, the concept of coffee-to-go, drive-trough coffee-shops.
And what about free refill? I love it. Who doesn’t?
Bene. In Italy all of the above mentioned are blasphemy. Coffe-to-go? Go where? You sit down and have your coffee! Free refill? Are you f##### kidding me?
It is not the coffee per se, nor the size or the many different types, you can probably find much more at Starbucks…
… is the CULTURE OF ITALIAN COFFEE.
Il caffè (‘coffe’) that in Italy is synonym for espresso, is a break. Is the excuse to sneak out of your office for a moment, say hi to a friend, is the occasion to exchange a word, to read the first page of the newspaper, discuss the last soccer game with a stranger at the counter, is a rite.
You don’t drink your coffee alone, you share it, you offer it.
“Ti offro un caffè!” you say before buying a coffee to a friend you just met on the street. Una tazzina (a mini-mug) is just 80 cents, not a big deal at all, you will not feel in debt for it! “Le offro un caffè” will tell you your professor or an older colleague or even your boss when you met him at the bar. Because a coffee is not just for family and friends, it is perfectly fine in the middle of a financial transaction.
In Napoli (Naples) they have the ancient tradition of the caffè sospeso (‘suspended coffee’), you buy your own and one more coffee, for someone else, who will have it in the near future.
You don’t make just one coffee with your moka (italian traditional coffee machine that everyone use in the morning) because coffee time is friends time
And I miss it