(1 Mar 2017) As the Starbucks franchise plans to open its first store in Italy in 2018, Italians are pondering the merits of their own coffee culture, many expressing doubts that coffee served the American way will catch on.
Drinking coffee is a unique experience in Italy and differentiates in many ways from how coffee is enjoyed in the United States.
An Italian coffee, or espresso, comes in a tiny white cup and is a deep brown syrupy-looking liquid at the bottom with a few little lighter brown bubbles around the edges.
Italians stand at the coffee bar, throw back their coffee and leave.
Cappuccino may be served in a larger cup, but the espresso topped up with a fluffy layer of milk is also being consumed on site standing up, and to that end is usually served tepid.
Whether it is an espresso, a macchiato, a cappuccino, or a latte – Italians love their coffee and can be particular about how it is made and served.
For many, the idea of large styrofoam or cardboard cups instead of porcelain or glass is unheard of, and some would not be caught dead walking around the street carrying a coffee.
Barista Giampaolo Di Giovanni proudly serves up a range of espresso variations to customers in a coffee bar in the centre of Rome and says that coffee is “part of our culture”.
Customers tend to agree.
Flavio Bramucci said he did not think Starbucks will replace Italian coffee bars, which much like “old-style traditional cooking” will be “always appreciated”.
The sentiment is echoed over at Rome’s Sant’ Eustachio coffee bar by fellow coffee drinker Riccardo Isetti, who said that for him it was a matter of “quality over quantity”, adding he was more likely to be found in one of the traditional Italian coffee bars than in a franchise of it’s American variant.
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