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I just returned from 3 weeks in Italy and France. Most of the time in
Italy, Sardinia, Rome, Florence & Venice. The cafe is good, but not great
compared to good home roasted, top grade, specialty coffee, prepared in our
"Oh so American way!" but, IMHO, this is not a fair comparison.
The Italians don't fuss over their cafe, just expect it to be quick, good
and as ordered, which for the most part is an espresso or machiatto. (But, I
did like the $1.50 correttos!) It really didn't matter whether I was
getting my cafe in the hotel bar, street bar or pasticceria, they used a
good, fresh, beans, a good machine, a proper grinder and consistent
technique. The grind was finer than I, (we?), use and the tamp much lighter
and quicker. The results were always good, but not great!
I stayed with family on the island of Sardinia for 4 days. The used a pod
machine at home. Still better than any coffee product in the average
American home by a mile, ( well actually 1.6 kilometers ;-) !! ) My cousins
could not understand the concept of roasting and grinding beans at home
anymore than "Joe Average America"!!
In Paris, it was hit and miss, never really even "good", often just okay and
occasionally "p!$$ poor". I found a shop that the sign, and the
counterperson, said roasted their own, though I did not see a roaster, nor,
even more bothersome, smell any residual roast aroma, The coffee I chose, a
Sulawasi, or at least they said so on the chalkboard menu! There was good
foot traffic purchasing their roasted beans, though. I did find another
shop that roasted their own, (could see the roaster in the window!!), member
of the European SCA, and unfortunately closed on the Sunday before my
departure the next morning.
London, well, let's just say it's good the Brit's have real ale!
Geary, with an even greater appreciation for "what we do!"
BTW, Mike, Welcome back, but Sylvia has long since forgotten you!! ;-0!!