Italian Coffee is the Best

    This post on someone who’s trying to bring Starbucks-style coffee shops to Italy is kind of annoying. Not least for the closing quote:

    “It’s not that Italian coffee has always been bad,” Campeotto said. “They have been geniuses. The god of coffee is the Italian espresso. The problem is, they have been stuck there. They stopped.”

    If they had already achieved the “god of coffee” (which I happen to agree with), then why would they do anything other than stop? If you’ve already achieved perfection you have no need to improve. Just make sure you maintain that level.

    I spent twelve months of 1989-90 in Turin. A cappuccino was 1200 lire, or about 60p (around 45-50 US cents, probably). And it was delicious. The best coffee I had, or have, ever tasted.

    The growth of Starbucks and the other chains came after that, and I’ve been looking for coffee as good ever since. I’ve never found it. The closest I ever found in London was Costa in its early days. It has slipped down to the level of Starbucks and Caffè Nero, though.

    Which is not to say that any of those are truly bad: not, at least, compared to what was available before they came on the scene.

    But nothing matches my memory of Torinese cappuccino.

    Cafe culture

    Well, I feel like a proper 21st-century blogger at the moment: I’m sitting typing this in a cafe. Specifically, the Clissold House Cafe, in Clissold Park in Stoke Newington, North London. The kids are currently at a tennis ‘camp’ (two hours’ intensive training a day for four days this week). It being the school holidays, I’ve taken the week off work to look after them.

    So with two hours to fill, I went for a wander round the shops of Church Street (only bought two books in a second-hand bookshop) and now I’m back at the park, waiting for the tennis to finish. I’m typing this on my Palm with folding keyboard setup. It doesn’t have anything fancy like WiFi or Bluetooth, so by the time you read this it will be (at least) several hours later, when I upload it to the PC and post.

    The coffee’s not very good, either. Their specialty is more cakes here, but I’m holding off until lunchtime.

    I’m am reminded as I type of the existence of John Scalzi‘s book on writing, You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing. Still, I’m not trying to impress (or, indeed, fool) anyone (nor, I imagine, succeeding in doing so).

    At the same time I’m listening to Radio 4, where there’s a program about ‘battleaxes’, which is kind of bollocks, as all such stereotypes are. It isn’t annoying me enough to switch it off yet, though.

    Curiously, they just played an extract from Fawlty Towers that I don’t remember ever hearing. There’s only about twelve episodes, so it’s hard to imagine that there’s one I’ve never seen. Then they’ve been talking about Thatcher as a battleaxe, which is an interesting one that I won’t go into here.

    I sat down to write fiction, but ended up doing this. It doesn’t make for the greatest of blog entries, but I suppose it serves as slight relief from bleak political posts.

    Damn, nearly made it without mentioning politics.