I as soon as met an Italian who didn’t drink espresso. He made gentle of the very fact, however you may see that he was bored with having to clarify his incapacity each time some new acquaintance uttered the usual Italian greeting: “Prendiamo un caffè?” (“Fancy a coffee?”). His breezy however faintly passive-aggressive method hid, I think, deep swimming pools of self-doubt and underground lakes of wounded masculine satisfaction. Vegetarians develop the identical nonchalant but haunted look when travelling in locations like Mongolia, the place meat comes with a side-dish of meat. But this Italian man wasn’t a customer, he was native. He was the Mongolian vegetarian.
Coffee is a lot part of Italian tradition that the thought of not ingesting it’s as international as the thought of getting to clarify its rituals. These rituals are set in stone and never all the time simple for outsiders to grasp.
In truth, as in any self-respecting cult, they’re made intentionally laborious to grasp, in order that the initiated can recognise one another over the bar counter with out the necessity for a curious handshake (which might solely result in cussed cappuccino stains).
Some may object that the Italian espresso cult is now a worldwide church with branches in London, Dubai and Bora Bora. But though the Arabica espresso mix is commonly good, the cups simply the correct dimension and form, the machines as Made in Italy as they arrive, Italian espresso bars outdoors Italy virtually all the time adapt to the host tradition – identical to the overwhelming majority of Chinese eating places outdoors China. If you are taking your cue out of your native excessive avenue espresso purveyor, you threat straying from the True Path on arrival in Italy.
Here, then, for many who fancy going native in true Lorenzo of Arabica type, are the Ten Commandments of Il Culto del Caffè.
The right approach to drink your espresso, in accordance with the Italians
1. Milk within the morning
Thou shalt solely drink cappuccino, caffé latte, latte macchiato or any milky type of espresso within the morning, and by no means after a meal. Italians cringe on the considered all that sizzling milk hitting a full abdomen. An American pal of mine who has lived in Rome for a few years continues, knowingly, to interrupt this rule. But she has learnt, no less than, to apologise to the barman.
2. Keep in easy
Thou shalt not muck round with espresso. Requesting a mint frappuccino in Italy is like asking for a single malt whisky and lemonade with a swizzle stick in a Glasgow pub. There are however one or two regional exceptions to this rule which have met with the blessing of the final espresso synod. In Naples, thou mayst order un caffè alla nocciola – a frothy espresso with hazelnut cream. In Milan thou can impress the locals by asking for un marocchino, a kind of upside-down cappuccino, served in a small glass which is first sprinkled with cocoa powder, then hit with a blob of frothed milk, then spiked with a shot of espresso.
3. Never say ‘espresso’
Which jogs my memory, thou shalt not use the phrase espresso. This a technical time period in Italian, not an on a regular basis one. As espresso is the default setting and single the default dose, a single espresso is solely referred to as un caffè. And for pity’s sake, don’t say ‘expresso’ both.
4. Double bother
Thou can order un caffè doppio (a double espresso) if thou likest, however remember that this isn’t an Italian behavior. Italians do drink loads of espresso, however they achieve this in small, regular doses.
5. Say it loud
Thou shalt head confidently for the bar, name out thine order even when the barista has his again to you, and pay afterwards on the until.
6. Just the ticket
If it’s an airport or station bar or a vacationer place the place the barista screams “ticket” at thee, thou shalt, if thou can bear the ignominy, pay earlier than thou consumest.
7. Standing room solely
Thou shalt not sit down until thou hast an excellent purpose. Coffee is a pleasurable drug, however a drug however, and must be downed in a single, standing. Would thou sit down at a pavement desk to take thy each day Viagra?
8. Some prefer it sizzling
Thou shouldst anticipate thy espresso to reach at a temperature at which it may be downed instantly as per the earlier commandment. If thou preferest burning thy lips and tongue or blowing the froth off thy cappuccino in a useless try to chill it down thou shouldst ask for un caffè bollente.
9. The permitted drinks
Thou shall be allowed the next variations, and these solely, from the Holy Trinity of caffè, cappuccino and caffé latte: caffè macchiato or latte macchiato – an espresso with a touch of milk or a sizzling milk with a touch of espresso (bear in mind, mornings solely); caffè corretto: the Italian builder’s early morning pick-me-up, an espresso “corrected” with a slug of brandy or grappa; and caffè freddo or cappuccino freddo (iced espresso or cappuccino) – however beware, this normally comes pre-sugared. Thou mayst additionally ask for un caffè lungo or un caffè ristretto if thou desirest roughly water in thine espresso.
10. That is all
Anything else you might have heard is heresy.