People use the term “time travel” like it's a bad thing, but sometimes a blast from coffee's past can be an awful lot of fun. Next time you're in Milan, visit Hodeidah. It's a ten minute walk from the castle, and one of the very few small coffee roasters in Milan. You'll be greeted by a well-dressed bar-man situated on the left, and a bevy of whole bean coffees and gift baskets to the right. In the back, tall whole bean columns touch the ceiling. There you'll also find a generous assortment of candies, chocolates, and tinned biscuits. Peek in the back room to check out the 40 kilo coal-powered 1946 Victory roaster.
Hodeidah opened in 1946, and their coffee offerings feel stuck somewhere in the 80s or 90s. It's all about the name brand here, and the distinguished selections include Yauco Selecto from Puerto Rico, Jamaica Blue Mountain, the Captain Cook Kona Extra Fancy from Hawaii, Mount Everest Supreme from Nepal, and plenty of Kopi Luwak.
On its own, this wasn't the best shot of espresso I had in Milan, but with sugar, like all Italian espressos, it was transcendent. Rubber tires disappear, the whole thing tastes like candy, and you just want to shoot it down – because you're in Italy, and you've got Duomos to take pictures of (or places to work, or people to see).
Looking back, what folks on TripAdvisor mention is their doctored up espresso drinks – the kind with chocolate, orange zest, and pear ice cream. Pear ice cream. This is also probably the only place in Milan you can get a custom cup of coffee. A one-euro-eighty cup of Captain Cook? Yeah, sure, why not?
As an aside, according to a 2011 interview, the two men who operate Hodeidah have never traveled to coffee farms – it's not really on their radar, and frankly, they just don't have time.
Hodeidah, Via Piero della Francesca, 8, 00392342472, Milan – Italy.