In my opinion Italian coffee is one of the best ways to illustrate the Italian way of life and la bella vita. In Italy quality is given much more importance than quantity, Italy still hasn’t fallen into the imperialistic idea that bigger is better, but still holds on to quality being the ultimate goal.
ITALIAN COFFEE VS AMERICAN COFFEE
I think it is obvious why coffee illustrates this so perfectly. In America —as most of the world— coffee is a large watered down beverage that is pretty cheap to produce and purchase. In fact it is also extremely easy to make a cup, which can be done without any special machinery, i.e., you can just boil coffee grinds in water and get a “good cup of joe” like the cowboys did in the wild west…
There seems to be no limit to the size of American coffee, the size of coffee cups are only limited to the size of the cup holders in cars —which keep getting bigger— and even then a lot of them just don’t fit!
Contrast that with an Italian coffee, also known as espresso (if you ask for a cafe normale in Italy you get an espresso). The machinery needed to produce it is akin to a craftsman’s tools, very beautiful and intricate ones. The roasting and grinding of the beans in itself is an art that needs special attention. A good barista takes the process of making a shot of espresso very seriously and once you understand the way it should taste so will you!
As far as size goes… A quick glance at the typically huge Styrofoam cups that most convenience stores and gas stations sell compared to an eloquent shot of espresso in a traditional ceramic demitasse says it all! The main reason for the difference in size is that Cafe Americano —as it is called in Italy— is very, very watered down! In Napoli they call it aqua sporca, literally “dirty water”.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
There is one simple rule that anyone can follow to make the quality of their life almost instantly better: Quality over quantity. It may seem simple and maybe hard to follow at first, but there are many valuable benefits.
For example when you learn to appreciate quality food and drink you will eat more moderate proportions. Moderate amounts of coffee have been shown to have numerous health benefits, however, if you guzzle gallons of low quality coffee each day it will obviously do you more harm than good.
This principle can be applied in many walks of life, however, coffee is a great place to start! So, my advice os to enjoy at least one good quality cup of Italian coffee a day!