[dropcap type=”1″]M[/dropcap]y first time in Italy was the summer of 2007, I am not sure of the month and it’s of no importance. Like most of us, I had heard of all the stories about the handsome Italian stallions, their timeless era defining culture, the beautiful warm land, traditional Mediterranean cuisine and of course…the world famous Italian ‘Espresso’!
To coffee cultures around the world, this hot, beverage has a much deeper meaning. It is far from just a cup of coffee; it is so much more. It is about socializing , spending quality family time with your relatives, it’s the time to come together and talk about trivial or , other times, more important matters, it’s about sharing with friends, it is the time of the day that all else is put aside and people warm to each other for that one moment over coffee.
I, also, come from a ‘coffee’ country myself and I am aware of the sheer importance of it…nothing, though, could have prepared me for that kind of experience.
I landed at Naples airport feeling nervous and anxious, but the very friendly and smiley Italian people made me feel at home fairly quick. I was to meet a friend, not knowing then that later he would end up being my husband and father to my children. The first thing he asked me after we hugged and kissed was: ‘coffee ?’ Coffee is a magic word, is an icebreaker, is a sign that tells the other person : ‘lets sit down and talk’, it’s a wake-up call from the earth.
The notion relaxed me and made me smile and I was looking forward to finally taste the famous Italian espresso, which I assure you tastes nothing like the ones we try making in other countries.
[quote_box_center]Espresso was served in small coffee cups in a small dosage with two sugar sachets on its plate. I thought to myself that the sugar would not be necessary as I mostly take my coffee without. To my surprise espresso was very bitter without sugar that not even the bravest of Italians can handle so I quickly changed my mind about this whole sugar thing and reached for both the sachets.[/quote_box_center]
And there I had it…Amazing aroma, deep strong flavor, a very nice blend that brought about a feeling of a welcoming hospitality. It is drank fast which quite annoyed me at first but I got to appreciate later on.
The history of espresso is interesting , although I am not going to bore you with endless historical information, I will, though, let you in some fascinating facts!
- Espresso was invented in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century by Luigi Bezzera of Milan who invented a method of making coffee with steam pressure. This method provided a quick way of making a single cup of coffee, “espressly” for one.
- Espresso is an Italian word which basically means “express”. For those who are not aware, Espressos must be served quickly / immediately to the customer.
- The term denotes a “for you” meaning – as in the coffee is brewed solely intended for the customer.
- Italian espresso-style coffee is a cultural phenomenon that has spread across the world and has spurred a specialty coffee revolution which accounts for a significant portion of the more than $80 billion that is spent annually on coffee of all forms.
- There are only 9 calories in every 100 grams of espresso !