Sprudge contributor and longtime Counter Culture Coffee customer relations representative Erin Meister asked her followers on Facebook, “Remember that time I went to Italy? Well, I wrote a little ditty about it. If you want to read it, you know, you could click here or whatever. Only if you want to. No pressure.”
That “little ditty” is a riveting print feature for the Washington Post Travel section, an epic that takes the reader to four distinct cities, and within those cities several cafes, each with their own individual take on the espresso experience. Meister’s take on the Italian espresso culture is both honest and humble, and it’s enormously exciting to see this kind of coffee travel writing in print, from one of our industry’s most talented journalists. There’s even a supplemental cafe and travel guide to Italy.
Sacred spots are scattered across Italy: Each major city has its own coffee tradition, and limiting myself to one or two would feel as incomplete as sticking to decaf. As a barbecue fanatic must bounce not only between the Carolinas but also through Missouri, Tennessee and Texas for meaty enlightenment, I won’t fulfill my pilgrimage simply by slugging a few espresso shots in Rome.
On espresso in Sant’Eustachio il Caffe:
Signs around the cafe proclaim, “Il caffee senza zucchero va richiesto all’ordine,” or “Coffee without sugar must be requested when ordering.” Asking for a shot amaro, or bitter, might earn coffee cred back home, but you’d be missing out here: Whatever alchemy takes place behind the curtain yields delicious results, and it’s best to trust the master at the machine. The frothy, almost meringuelike crema on this espresso is unlike any other I’ve tasted, and while there’s a noticeable kiss of sweetness, it neither overpowers nor distracts from the coffee’s deep roasted-chestnut flavor.
Washington Post: In Italy, a spiritual search for the essence of espresso.