Everyone in the States know that Italians love their coffee. Of course, their coffee concept is an espresso or cappuccino rather than a vanilla sweet cream cold brew (G U L I T Y).
I’m the epiphany of an American girl who loves Starbucks! I mean its literally on every corner here in NYC. Though later this Fall, Milan will be the first city in Italy to have a Starbucks! With that being said, I was curious to know what Italians thought about our coffee culture along with other small questions that revolved around this. I asked these questions to an Italian couple from Milan, Cristiano and Cecilia! The reason I chose this couple is that they have been to the states a good amount of time, so I trust their opinion on the different cultures.
Do you drink coffee?
Cristiano: Usually I drink espresso. When I’m abroad or if I can’t find a good espresso, I’ll drink regular coffee or “American coffee”. When I’m home, I like to prepare a good cup of Moka coffee.
Cecilia: I’m more of a tea person, actually! Though being Italian, I appreciate both a good coffee and espresso. While at the coffee bar, I usually ask for an espresso with no sugar. But I like to change it up! Sometimes I’ll ask for caffè macchiato, which is espresso with a drop of milk or cappuccino. It’s my favorite thing to drink for breakfast while I have a croissant. Please note that cappuccino should not be drank after lunch or dinner, it’s a morning drink 🙂
While in the US, Did you look for an Espresso from Italy?
Cristiano: I did! I absolutely disliked it! It’s not tasty and basically hot water. I mean it’s hot, has caffeine but not the best. The only place where I found good espresso was in Brooklyn.. which was an Italian bar, no surprise! To be honest, you really can‘t find good espresso in the states.
Cecilia: I had the chance to visit various places in the US and spent some time living in New York City! So I can say, I tried quite a few coffee bars! I had many cups of espresso: some were okay, some were not, it really depended on the place itself. To be fair, I’m not a picky person. In NY, there are so many places, I think it is safe to say, it’s possible to find decent espresso. You probably just have to look for it. Anyway, at some point, while in the US, I decided to switch to American coffee as I thought it would be better to get the local flavor.
What are your thoughts on the Coffee Culture in America?
Cristiano: The thing I really like about Americans drinking coffee, is that they have a culture. There’s a coffee shop where you can do work, have a cup of coffee with friends and just relax. This isn’t a thing in Italy, its usually a go-go-go atmosphere. You sip an espresso at the counter and you leave the bar. In Italy, if you’re still drinking your espresso (1 euro btw), the owner will definitely judge you. I would love to mix the American and Italian coffee culture. Now that I think about it, we’re sort of opposite: Americans eat fast but drink slow. Italians eat slow but drink fast!
Cecilia: In America, I had the feeling that they do not consider coffee as an actual pleasure. It was like a sort of fuel to keep them going during the day but I might be wrong. It just felt weird to see them strolling around town with a giant cup lasting a good part of the day and probably turning cold lol. For sure Americans try their best to keep everyone satisfied as there are so many combinations or options you can choose! The first few times I felt a bit lost as I had no idea what to order because the menus were too long, lol. Honestly, I feel like a few names sound weird: i.e. In Italian latte means milk, not coffee with milk.
What are your thoughts about Starbucks opening in Italy?
Cristiano: Starbucks in Italy? To hell! It’s basically going to be a McDonald’s in Italy. Though, it is a perfect time to open: the tourist are rising and the city is open to different cultures/ideas. People will go there for the fact that its Starbucks with their cups and what not.. It’ll be popular but not for me!
Cecilia: I have never been a big Starbucks fan (in the US I used to go there to use their toilets, lol…as they are always quite clean) and for sure I do not look forward to seeing them open a store in Italy. I am a bit afraid that Starbucks might damage local businesses, which for sure can offer better coffee (at least espresso and cappuccino) for less..also I hope that tourists and foreigners would decide to taste the real Italian coffee while in Italy instead of Starbucks, which is over rated in my opinion…and come on, frappuccino is evil.