Coffee Spills

What I hear and see and think about at the coffee shops I patronize.
Brisk. Fresh. Well-balanced. Occasional nutty and bittersweet overtones.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Coffee in Italy

Last summer we were in Italy, and found nothing that tasted like what we call coffee in the United States. The closest is Caffè Americano - A shot of espresso with hot water added and served in a larger cup. After we got home, I found this nice newsletter from Bill and Kristi Steiner called Adventures in Italy. The URL I see includes my e-mail, so if you plan to visit Italy soon, just google that information for a subscription. Anyway, about coffee. The latest issue includes names of the various coffee drinks you will find in Italy.
    "The number and variety of coffee options Italy has is amazing. Most of us are exposed to some of the selections found in Italy through coffee houses in the U.S. But the Italians have an amazing array of choices. You won't find a menu listing your options, you just have to know what they are. Here are some of the different kinds of coffee to explore, but we would never say this is a complete list!

    _Caffè_ - In Italy the word “caffè’” means an espresso. There is no need to specify “espresso.” It is served in a demitasse cup “tazzina” with its own
    saucer and little stirring spoon.

    _Caffè Macchiato_ - “Macchiare” means to stain. This is an espresso
    “stained” with a tiny bit of hot milk, probably frothed.

    _Caffè Macchiato Freddo_ – Freddo means cold. An espresso served in a
    demitasse cup with cold or lukewarm milk on the side. It is a regular caffè next to a carafe of milk, which you add.

    _Cappuccino_ – Most of us know this one – an espresso and steamed, frothy milk added so that there is a layer of milk foam in a larger cup, a tazza. Many barristas make an art of the way the foam appears. An Italian cappuccino is smaller than you get in the U.S. - and better!

    _Marocchino_ - In some areas of Italy, also called an Espressino or Mocacchino. It is a shot of espresso served in a glass demitasse with a sprinkling of cacao (chocolate) and milk foam spooned on top.

    _Latte Macchiato_ – This is an approximation of what we call a caffe latte: Milk “stained” with coffee, and served hot in a glass cup or in a tall cup, larger than a cappuccino.

    _Caffè Corretto_ – This literally means a corrected coffee. It is an espresso in a demitasse cup, with a “shot” of liquor of your choice.

    _Caffe HAG_ – Hag is a brand of decaffeinated coffee. Ask for it or decaf, which they will probably understand. It is often instant coffee."


Monday, August 03, 2009

Leaving grandma out

At the coffee shop today I saw a large family group. Four young adult and teen grandchildren and grandma. The kids were all reading their lap tops; grandma had no one to talk to. Lakeside is certainly going the way of the world! I invited her to my table, and they all laughed, but for a few minutes did make eye contact with her. I have no grandchildren, but if I did and we were in a restaurant or coffee shop, you can bet they wouldn't be ignoring me! Yes, yes. I know the coffee shop has wi-fi, but manners are never out of style.

At another table I handed a woman my i-pod while her daughter read the lap top. Turns out she was a language arts teacher. She messed with it a little then handed it back. "My school bought 50 of these and I'm supposed to come up with uses for my 8th graders. So far, I haven't found any." Keep in mind, the kids aren't supposed to go on the internet. She was also concerned about the "young adult" literature which she thought I might be familiar with when she found out I'd been a librarian. I had to confess I didn't read it when I was a kid and almost never as an adult, unless the title came up on the book group list. I told her that from the reviews I'd read--topics like divorce, abuse, date rape, bi-sexuality, bullying, etc.--I didn't see how they offered much. Topic driven; language impoverished; morally challenged. Sexually ambiguous. Sort of Jodi Piccoult for teens.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Katrina survivor

I talked to a woman at the coffee shop, a 5th generation Lakesider, who is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. She lost her business and her husband lost his career. They didn't leave right away, but after he found positions in other locations for most of his colleagues, the company cut his job. He got a number of job offers and about 3 years ago they relocated in Tennessee. They love it. She thinks the people are the friendliest she's ever met. Life is great, she said.

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