Un caffè per favore?
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As a tired college student who was involved with clubs as well as a job, I was acutely aware of the magical effects of coffee. On a normal day, I would have about two cups of iced coffee with cream and sugar. My daily ritual soon became an obsession and I couldn’t function without a daily cup of coffee. I loved it so much that my local barista would often have my order ready for me before I even walked through the doors.
Being a coffee addict, I had heard of the wonders of Italian coffee. A small teacup filled with a rich dark liquid that could keep a grown man awake all night sounded exactly like something I needed to try. When I first tried espresso, I immediately knew I would never go back to American coffee. While typically an espresso shot is no more than two or three sips, I could feel the caffeine working its way through my body and quickly waking me up. In America, our watered down coffee often takes a while to wake people up and for seasoned coffee drinkers, has almost no effect. Even though espresso was bitter compared to what I was used to, I loved it and couldn’t get enough.
Espresso uses much less water so the coffee is stronger and has a more intense taste. This is because many Italians use robusta beans while American coffee is made with Arabica beans. The robusta beans create this intense and almost burnt taste to the coffee. Italians also use more of the coffee bean than Americans do. This is what makes Italian coffee so much stronger and more effective in waking people up. Espresso is a type of coffee that is brewed in seconds with hot water and finely ground beans.
The difference between Italian and American coffee goes beyond the actual drinks. The way coffee is enjoyed is different in both countries as well. In Italy, people tend to order their coffee, drink it, and then pay and leave. Occasionally when they’re with friends, customers will sip their coffee and enjoy their surroundings. However for the most part, coffee is consumed quickly so people can get on their way to jobs or activities. In America coffee culture tends to be the exact opposite. Americans tend to order their coffee and sit and sip on it while enjoying conversation or even just people watching. They drink their coffee slowly and will often drink it so slowly, that it becomes cold before it’s finished. Americans also love getting their coffee ‘to-go’ or for takeaway. In Italy this practice of getting coffee for takeaway isn’t as popular and tends to separate tourists from locals.
Italian coffee and American coffee both have unique and distinct flavors. While one is bitter and strong, the other tends to be sweet and watery. In every country though, coffee is a staple to energizing people for the day and brining people from all cultures together. In any country you visit, you can find a cafe or coffee shop to order your drink. Many popular drinks like espresso or an americano can be understood in any language making coffee one of the most delicious cross-cultural drinks.