buy prednisone india By Cinzia Antonelli caffeLike the real Italian that I am, I often wonder: “How would the world be without coffee?” I drink it every day – at least three times, so of course, I can say that the world without coffee would a little sadder!

For us Italians, it’s not possible to start the day without the necessary energy boost that a cup of hot black coffee gives us.  It’s a really inseparable companion at breakfast, after our main meals and throughout the day, whether we are at home or out for leisure or work.  It doesn’t matter if it’s an espresso, a cappuccino, a macchiato or a shake, we drink it and savor its taste in a variety of ways, and in all the atmospheric temperatures that weather offers us.

Coffè Greco in RomeBut what’s the real origin of this energy drink? We don’t know the exact date of the discovery of coffee, but archaeologists date it back to 900 A.D., following the discovery of some writings about the medical use of the coffee plant.

Ancient legend says that an Ethiopian goat herder, called Kaldì, noticed that his flock was much more active when it ate some varieties of red berries, so he decided to taste them discovering precisely their beneficial effect and energy.  Over time people learned that they could boil the red berries of the plant to get a tasty brew.  From those places, it later spread to the neighboring areas of Yemen, Egypt and Arabia, with the first plantations.

Around the sixteenth century, coffee was introduced also in Italy, thanks to Venetian merchants, who traded with the Near East. It became so popular that, in many Italian cities, the so-called “coffee house” was borne, where aristocrats, politicians, writers and philosophers could taste it, making it a real part of the local cultural circles.

In Venice, there is still the oldest and most famous “Caffè Florian,” located under the arcade of St. Marco square. In Roma, “Caffè Greco” was established on Condotti Street, one of the most fashionable streets in the world; in Padua there is the “Caffè Pedrotti,” and in Turin, “Caffè San Carlo.”

In 1819, the invention of the first machine to prepare coffee at home, called “Cuccumella,” took place in Naples.  From this point on, almost all Italian families, could wake up in the morning and enjoy a cup of coffee.  Then in 1933, Mr Alfonso Bialetti, invented the revolutionary mocha machine and this made it possible for every single Italian family to prepare their own coffee at home.

Coffe San Carlo TourinItaly is full of old traditions, rituals and stories that swarm around our coffee culture.  Especially in Naples, there is the custom of “Coffee Suspended,” where someone goes into a cafè to get a cup of coffee and pays for an extra one, which is then offered to a needy person who requests it.   You can also find this moving tradition abroad, and on the web, a fan page named “Suspended Coffee” was created.  Here you can read stories from all over the world, testifying that the gesture of paying the coffee forward has now spread everywhere.

For us, the ritual of coffee is considered a real culture that, since ancient times, has influenced our way of life, and even exerts a socializing function.  Whether we’re comfortable at home, in the workplace or out for leisure, we want to take our deserved coffee break, as an excuse to socialize, chat and make new friends, near a good Espresso or Mocha. In addition to the pleasure of the drink, we establish new relationships, exchange emotions, secrets, ideas, and in many cases, we conclude good business arrangements or truces.

Here in Italy we have three main meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Our breakfast always starts with a good hot coffee or “cappuccino,” of course, with the classic croissant, even when we choose to have breakfast at the bar.  After lunch, around one o’clock, whether we are at home with family or at the restaurant with colleagues, it’s a must to satisfy our palate with a tasty coffee to go with a dessert like a Tiramisù.  And after having dinner with our whole family, sharing the events of the day, we end with a cup of coffee.

Moka the modern machineFor us, the most loved and most classic is the espresso, when we go to a bar and ask, “a coffee please,” this is what we typically get. If we order a “corretto,” the coffee is served with the addition of brandy.  For breakfast, the popular choice is the Italian “cappuccino,” which is prepared in a large cup and a froth of milk on top.  In the summer, to beat the heat, friends will often enjoy a Shake, which is served very cold, and with ice.

The ritual of coffee is so ingrained into our culture, that it has invaded all cultural backgrounds and even influenced our music.   The great composer, Sebastian Bach, in 1734 composed “The Coffee Cantata,” and in both Italian and international discography, some of our greatest artists, like Lucio Battisti and Bob Dylan, are known to start their day with “one more cup of coffee.”  For the Italian singer, Ron, and America singer/songwriter, Jackson Browne, coffee is almost a requirement in the morning, as indicative by their songs “Una Città Per Cantare” and “The Load Out,” respectively.

The list is long, but I have to mention a few more of my personal favorites – “Starfish Coffee” by the great Prince, and “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee” by The Cranberries.  I also remember, with great affection, “Dulcis in Fundo” by Italian pop-blues singer Pino Daniele, who died recently, and who with his “Na Tazzulella e Cafè,” praised this unique beverage a hoot!

You can certainly understand that for us Italians, our love for coffee is stronge and although at times our daily lives may seem a little bitter and tiring, I invite you to always find the time to enjoy this great little pleasure, wherever you are.

So what do you say, let’s grab a coffee?

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