Our blog is your source for information and discussion on all things Italian coffee/coffee culture as well as travel and food! Visit https://coffeeinitalia.com to see our selection of moka pots (stovetop espresso makers), Italian espresso and accessories.
While I've never liked their dilution of actual culture, is hasn't always been obvious what tangible effects this could have, beyond confusing customers and running small coffee shops out of business. Well, that was true until very recently...
On a trip to NYC, we ate a fabulous meal at one of our favorite restaurants, Ribalta. Their pizza is true Neapolitan style, the wine selection is fantastic, their service if great, and if you go at the right time you can enjoy a Calcio (soccer) game with a very spirited and lively crowd. We try to go whenever we are in town, and this recent trip was no exception. At the end of our delicious meal, we ordered some dolci and a couple macchiati. The waiter took our order for dessert, stopped and confirmed with us that the coffee we wanted was a shot of espresso. Confused, we responded "yes", but I though to myself: "as opposed to what?"
Again last week, when my wife went to a coffee-shop and ordered a macchiato, the barista confirmed with her that she was expecting an espresso drink. My wife said yes, but noticing the confused look on her face, the barista explained that many people order a macchiato and aren't expecting a real one, they are looking for one of those nasty sugar and whipped cream disasters that they serve at Starbucks. When they are served a real macchiato, they're disappointed.
This is a clear example intentionally fostering confusion with customers as to what very specific Italian products are in order to attract a larger, if ignorant, client base. Starbucks seems fine with this, but I'm not. Please learn what a true macchiato is and buy those, or of course you could make them at home with our delicious Italian coffees and stove-top espresso makers. I realize this might come off as self serving, but this is the reason we're in this business. Because we're passionate about Italian Coffee Culture!
Dining in Rome
During my recent trip to Rome, a friend and local recommended Hostaria Dino & Tony, the selling point was that it is affordable, great quality and traditional Roman fare. Without knowing it, my friend gave a description that perfectly aligned with what I like most about Roman food, so I was excited to give it a try!
Tony or Toni
While I am still learning to speak Italian (slowly), I usually feel fairly confident in a restaurant. Tonight, however, I was tired and Dino (or Tony, not sure which) greeted me, sat me down and asked if I wanted some wine with blinding speed. I was so overwhelmed that I think I said I wanted both Red and White wine. I didn't, he understood and returned with a delicious half-carafe of Vino della Casa and water.
I hadn't realized that this hostaria didn't see the need for menus. I'm sure I was asked what I wanted to eat, or at least if I wanted what they were making, but all I'm certain of is that I confirmed I …
History (Our Story!)
Our journey from automatic drip coffeemakers to stove-top espresso makers was long, but it shouldn't have been! We received a Bialetti Moka pot as a wedding shower gift from my sister and as we had no idea how to use it, we boxed it up and dragged it around with us on our many moves. During an unpacking, we realized the handle had broken so we dumped it (big mistake but who knew!). Cut to years later, Beppe ends up with another one from a yankee swap at a work Christmas party. Again, we don't use it. Finally our drip coffeemaker breaks and as we mull over which make/model to replace it with, we dig out the Moka pot and carefully read the directions and start using it, but only as an interim solution. After a few tries, we figured out that using it is not only easy, but an espresso is so much better!
So if you're intimidated (like we were) by the newness of the whole thing, we're here to share some tips on getting started using your stovetop…
The next person who agreed to answer the Coffee in Italia questionnaire is none other than new friend Michele, from the awesome Instagram account Mangia with Michele. We began following her within the last year and her posts about Italian food leave us drooling (you really have to check her out if you're not already following her).
I met her in NYC a couple of times IRL, and she's just as awesome as you'd expect! She has an extensive background in the food sector after leaving her career in accounting to pursue her passion. She's traveled extensively (even lived in Switzerland for a year) but loves her Jersey roots and can't imagine living anywhere other than the NYC area. Seeing the view from her window in various posts makes me miss the big apple that much more!
Currently she's hard at work building her website; you should subscribe right away so you won't miss the launch. She's also partnered with Food Lover's Odyssey to lead a food tour o…