C O F F E E / by Caitlin Trickett

Coffee. Let’s talk about it:

Italians love their coffee just as much as Americans love their’s however, the differences are about a mile deep.

The first day I went out and about I asked the barista man for a ‘coffee’. This was translated to mean a ‘cafe’ which is apparently a wee, tiny espresso shot. Lesson learned! The espresso of Italia is not to be taken in light and, in my case, means adding a hearty spoonful of sugar to make it tolerable. Another tough run in with the espresso involved the above image: the espresso maker Pedrini. That’s just it, I had no idea this was an espresso maker so promptly after making a “small pot of coffee” I poured myself a heaping cupful, added milk and sugar, and bottoms up. Not okay but let’s just say I walked around Rome faster than a jackrabbit that day.

I am slowly learning the customs of coffee around here. For one, you order a cappuccino or a cafe with all intentions of drinking it at the coffee bar, paying when you’ve finished. This way you’re able to converse with the barista or the other people enjoying cappuccinos around you about subjects such as the weather or local news. For me of little Italian-speaking knowledge however, will sit in the corner and try my hardest to stay out of the way.

Only occasionally will you run into a bar (coffee bars are called ‘bars’) that serves larger “To-Go Coffee” in 8 oz. paper cups (obviously catering to the American type). There are no Starbucks in Rome meaning no Ventis loaded down with sugar and cream. It is very customary however to take multiple coffee breaks throughout the day so I would figure that the amount eventually adds up to at least a Grande-sized cup for the average Italian.

It is the coffee custom of Rome that I find very difficult to become accustomed to but hopefully in time I will learn. I have 4 months after all.