buonissssssssssimo! (a coffee trip across Napoli)

Culture, women and coffee: this is what a tourist will always analyze in every country he visits. As for the coffee, trust me: it’s damn hard to get a bad coffee in Italy. That’s just one of the ten zillion reasons (and probably the most unusual of all) why I have always loved this incredible country. Drinking a lot of coffee definitely ranks among my “Top Ten Things To Do At Christmas And Everyday, Too”. So, in order to preserve traditions, this Christmas my tongue has came across Kimbo, a coffee that represents the Neapolitan coffee culture. Coffee drinkers around the world, forget about Folgers or Starbucks: Italian coffee is the ultimate coffee. 😀 But let’s put aside brands and just let me make out of Kimbo a reason to take you to a coffee-journey across Napoli.

Of course, as you can imagine, there are many beautiful Italian cities with traditions such as Rome, Venice, Milan and Turin. Yet, further South there is the lovely Napoli  (Naples). People of Naples love coffee or, even better, espresso. Coffee culture and their daily espresso are as much part of Neapolitan culture as being jolly, laid-back and passionate.

Neapolitans are very critical with it for espresso is not just espresso. There are many kinds and many ways of preparing and drinking it. Traditionally Espresso Corto with little water and much coffee and Espresso Lungo with a little more water are the favorites of the Neapolitans.  This does not mean that they do not fancy Caffè Latte or Caffè Macchiato; they just prefer espresso.

Owing to the fact that in Naples almost everyone has their own regular bar where they feel welcome and, of course, have the best espresso, there are about 500 to 600 coffee bars in the city. It is really conspicuous that coffee bars in the South are clearly distinct from those in the North of the country. While in the North people sit down, you stand up in the South (mainly in Naples). Going to a coffee bar is a regular ritual: you enter a bar, have a coffee and a glass of water (you always order a coffee and a glass of water) and go back to your work. This way Neapolitans easily have 3 or 4 espressos a day. They simply take that time and enjoy their coffee. And at prices between 70 and 90 cents per cup this is also an affordable pleasure.

Those who have no time or think espresso does not taste that well in a bar make their coffee at home. Each household in Naples has their own small espresso machine or cafetière. This little stainless steel machine makes a heavenly espresso in no time. The cafetière is used every morning because the first thing that comes to a Neapolitan’s mind is a freshly brewed espresso which they mostly have with milk. You do not leave house before you have had some coffee!  There is a saying in Naples about how an espresso should taste: it should be the three Cs, ‘comme cazzo coce’ which in English means “It’s darn hot”.

The typical Naples coffee bar layout is rather simple if not even old-fashioned, without any knickknacks. A small bar, a few snacks, two to three employees and that is about it. If you prefer larger and more modern, you have to go to a Bar Pasticceria. What should not be missing, of course, is a Barista. A Barista in a suit hurrying from office to office with a tray in his hand is simply there to serve coffee to those who cannot leave office. They are not to be mistaken with what we know today as a Barista, namely the person working behind the bar making drinks.

And now that I’ve taken you back from this Napoli yummy trip – or back just from a journey through my exquisite Kimbo memories – I’ll let you consider the idea of going and see/taste for yourself l’Italia e il suo buonisssssssimo caffè.

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4 thoughts on “buonissssssssssimo! (a coffee trip across Napoli)

  1. So… I have a confession: I don’t drink coffee! Ha. Now I feel even more American. Ugh. But it’s true: coffee culture is totally beyond me. I’ve experimented and, from time to time, will enjoy a seasonal selection at Starbucks. But, for the most part, coffee is the last thing on my mind.

    So, instead of coffee (and like many Americans, I fear) I get my caffeine-fix elsewhere: in disturbingly loaded energy drinks. Which, as a daily habit, can get quite expensive, so I rely on energy drink mixes (packets added to water)… I know what you’re thinking right now: “what the hell is this guy talking about?”

    Okay, so TODAY i ran out of said energy drink mix. And there’s only one place I can find the damn stuff: at Wal-Mart. So today, on my lunch break, I ventured to said store. And it’s truly an experience I would never wish on anybody…certainly not you (see for yourself: http://www.peopleofwalmart.com) but there I was, at hell’s gate, and wouldn’t you know it, I actually had a smile on my face. I was in a good mood…

    Because I couldn’t stop thinking: “screenwriter superhero” and I couldn’t stop smiling, even chuckling at the thought of you fumbling around like a fool, posting that on my behalf. SO, yeah, even at Wal-Mart… staring evil in the face… you made me smile. Superhero.

    • Well, finding out that coffee is the last thing on your mind was… I’m sorry to say, was just a little bit too much. Oh well. Too bad. Thanks for stopping by. It was nice knowing you. Leave me alone!

      GOTCHA!!! Sorry, I just had to have me sweet revenge. : ))

      p.s.: I mean it: don’t tell anyone I’m a superhero. They would take me in a secret lab, mistake me for an alien and…. well, you know the rest of the Roswell issue. : ))

    • One of my former teachers (the sweetest and loveliest American I’ve ever met) used to walk around with a coffee thermos. She used to drink A LOT of coffee. She even used to bring her blue coffee thermos to our class. She was so cute. We all loved her. 😀 We still do. At least I still do.
      As for Europeans… it’s not that much about the coffee itself, it’s more about having a reason for a break and for a chat with friends. In RO, if you visit a friend, the first question he/she will pop out is: “How about a coffee?” or “Let’s go and have a coffee.” or “Let me prepare you a good coffee!”
      In short, it’s the Romanian version for: “Come to the dark side, we have cookies.”
      Come to the dark side, we have coffee! : )))

      But, just like many Europeans, I could easily drink 4 or 5 cups a day. : ))) I mean, for ex., when I go home I LOVE to wake up and have a hot coffee while chatting with my parents. I’m so proud I’m an European! I’m just being evil right now. 😀
      As for Wal-Mart… I’m sorry for you and I’m glad I don’t have to see Wal-Mart anytime soon. 😀 I don’t even know if there is a Wal-Mart in RO. Mhm.

  2. ps – I wouldn’t hesitate to try a Neapolitan espresso. Nice post.

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