I have admitted before that I am a coffee snob.
I never drank coffee until our first trip to Italy in the mid-1990’s; I tried an espresso/caffé to try and cure my lingering jet lag and was hooked. Going back to the US after each trip was always a let down as I could never seem to find a caffé that would match what I had in Italy. I eventually bought an espresso machine to satisfy my caffé desires.
After living in Italy for almost two years and enjoying the delights of REAL caffé everyday I am struggling during our trip here in the US. To start with, I refuse to go to a Starbucks as they have bastardized coffee here in America. It seems the other coffee shops try to mimic what Starbucks serves and these coffees are not what you will find in Italy. In Italy the key is quality…not quantity!
We have gone to several different coffee shops, both independent and franchises and each time I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth, literally and figuratively. I have to be careful to explain I only want a “single” shot of espresso and they look at me like I asked this in Chinese.
“But that is so small and you can have the double for the same price.”
“No thanks, I only want a single espresso, and in the small cup, please.”
The results vary from black water with no crema to six ounces or more of liquid in a large cup. We did have one place at BWI before our flight to Cleveland when we asked for a caffe macchiato who asked if we were aware that what we ordered was an espresso with just a little milk; God bless the little things in life.
Then there is the issue of wanting a macchiato, again I curse Starbucks. I do not want a large cup with foam and caramel syrup, a macchiato by definition is an espresso with a “stain” of milky froth. More than once we have been scooping thick foam out of the cup into the trash to try and get to some coffee.
There are a few baristi in Ascoli Piceno I may need to hug when we return home.