I can’t say I began drinking coffee when I was very young. The closest I came to consuming the magical elixir was breathing in the intoxicating aroma of freshly brewed Folgers whenever I’d visit my grandmother. I’d watch her sip coffee slowly from her lipstick-stained ceramic mug, longing to enjoy the flavor myself one day.
My love for coffee really began in Italy over two years ago. I remember walking into a cafe in Venice, customers lining the length of the counter two or three rows deep. I stood there in shocked horror, imagining my stomach collapsing before I had a chance to sink my teeth into a chocolate brioche. But the Italians don’t grab to-go cups. They stay put for awhile, chatting with others while sipping their coffee.
My friend grabbed my hand and ushered me towards the front of the display case filled with freshly baked pastries. I tried not to drip saliva onto the polished glass.
“Scusi. Due cappuccini, per favore.”
A mug of cappuccino magically appeared before me. It was a rich, beautiful caramel color with a heart dancing on top of the frothy surface. I reached for the mug with both hands and purposefully brought the coffee to my lips. The musical, hypnotic sounds of the surrounding Italians slowly disappeared as I slipped into a world I’d never been before. I almost said the F word and I don’t mean Folgers.
It was love at first sip.
The smooth, creamy flavor of the cappuccino was showstopping and I sipped it as slowly as I could, making it last as long as possible before driving my friend insane. It quickly became my morning ritual, as warming to the body as it was to my soul.
After six months in Europe and a really long flight, I stepped foot on American soil and felt a loss. Not only for that rich culture, musical language, beautiful scenery, extraordinary food and my dear, dear friends but for my morning ritual of freshly baked brioche and the perfect cappuccino, both so rich and so flavorful.
My passion for the sacred bean rekindled when I walked into Chazzano Coffee Roasters for the first time. I was inebriated by the intoxicating perfume of freshly roasted coffee. It’s like the room slipped away and I was immediately transported back to that cafe in Venice, a chorus of Italians spilling into the corners and crevices of the room.
I stepped up to the bar. A chalkboard hugged the wall in front of me, listing over 30 varieties of coffee. My eyes fell on a category that intrigued me: nutty and chocolatey. Oh yeah.
I watched as a beautiful shot of Yirga Cheffe filled the glass: a rich, dark chocolatey brown. I pulled my gaze away for a moment and watched as the milk was being steamed and frothed. And then they both came together in perfect harmony, a lovely creamy caramel.
I drew the ceramic mug towards my mouth, ready to christen the rim with my magenta lips. I closed my eyes and took a drink.
It was love at first sip.
To be continued…
The above photo of Turkish style coffee – another fave – courtesy of Chazzano Coffee Roasters, where “good coffee makes you sing”.