The Making of a Coffee Snob Groupie

Confession: I drink Nescafe` with almond milk and raw sugar.

Confession: I have a plate fetish.

Confession: It took me three tries to spell cappuccino correctly.

How could these admissions define me as a coffee snob? I can barely handle diluted orange juice in the morning. Not so long ago I thought that burr means cold not grind. Plus, coffee makes me sweat…does that mean it counts as exercise?

Then a couple of years ago, I took a once in a lifetime trip to Italy and was forever changed.

We stayed in Rome and Venice, but spent most of the time in Citta` di Castello, Umbria.  A stone wall encircled the town and the Fiume Tevere ran along the outside to the west, with the hills of Tuscany rising beyond. While walking throughout the cobblestone streets at night, I could almost hear the clip-clop of horses ridden by the Roman soldiers who used to frequent the region. 

During the day, we brought glass jugs from the villa over to a store that was like a filling station for wine, where they poured the local fare – red or white – from a hose. It was wonderful table wine ( and I do admit I am somewhat of a wine snob.)

Around 4:00, tables outside the Piazza Matteotti filled with exotic-looking people drinking espresso (No, no! Never cappuccino after lunch) and chatting in a flowing foreign language. It was charming. I was seduced. What’s more, I needed a shot of energy to get me through the next several hours until dinner at Chef Luigi’s Il Feudo  (which would last nearly five hours).

I ordered one. It agreed with me.   It was a java baptism.

(Note: I’ve always loved the smell of coffee. Coffee in states, however, didn’t love me. But in Italy, the coffee was different. I don’t know why and have heard different theories suggesting heat or steam or brew time – I welcome insights on this…)

Back home, I bought Made-In-Germany espresso cups at an antique shop in Clearwater, Minnesota because I liked the color. I intended to make “visual espresso” via chocolate mousse, but have expanded to “Espresso Sundays” with the help of an aluminum, stove top espresso pot and a glass milk frother. It’s good. It’s a kick. And it’s compatible with the rest of me.

I still, however, approach coffee shops with caution. Typical questions include: Is it organic? How do you make your cappuccino? What kind of scone is that?

Snobology is a process. For now, I am content to hang around the band of coffee snob archetypes that take center stage. They are the culture’s icons. I know my limitations. So in the groupie tradition of Garth from Wayne’s World, I say: I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy… Rock on Coffee Snobs. (Good, but the espresso pots are on many sites. Prices range from $10 to $100.)


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One Response to “The Making of a Coffee Snob Groupie”

  1. Lynn Moore Says:

    Until I can actually visit Italy, I will travel to the hills of Tuscany by reading your lovely blog. By the way, I just discovered the difference between Burr Grinders and Blade grinders, and now I’m the proud owner of a burr coffee grinder.

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