This blog really wants to stand at a bar and drink his espresso.

Blasphemy: The Coffee in Spain Is Better*

with one comment

*This goes for Madrid, Bergamo, and Milan, and might change when I get to Bologna.

The notion that Italian coffee is better has to be one of the biggest myths to ever reach my ears, and depressingly so. I made sure to come here with an open mind, to acknowledge that espresso here is not a specialty item but an everyday drink. I was ready to never be amazed but always to be pleased. I’m also aware of the fact that I often refuse to allow myself to be impressed. Alas, every time I go into a bar here I do so with the earnestness of a kid in an amusement park, and every time I take the first sip it’s like hearing that Kiddieland is being torn down.

The complete opposite was Madrid, where I found myself watching shots run blonde for eons while I restrained myself from jumping over the counter to stop them, and then being immensely pleased when I got around to the business of drinking those shots. [Aside: I am absolutely certain that Spaniards run their machines cooler in order to do this, as I can drink Spanish espresso much sooner than I can Italian espresso.] THAT was what I expected to find in Italy: drinkable, pleasant espresso.

I will not, however, be going back to order any cafe con leche or cortados. Would I like some scalded UHT milk dispensed from a giant vat with my coffee? Uh, no thanks.


Written by Nick

1 May, 2009 at 7:18 am

Posted in Coffee

One Response

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  1. Interesting report on the state of coffee in Spain and Italy! While on a recent trip to Barcelona, I too found it quite hit and miss – the best was in la Boqueria market and the worst was in the middle of la Rambla. I’ve been to Italy several times and was fortunate to be only served very nice coffees although the best was at cafe Gambrinus in Naples. Amazing service and they say the coffee (and pizza) in Naples is so good because of the volcanic water. I wrote about coffee in London recently – have a read!


    1 May, 2009 at 4:49 pm

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