An adventurous journey, from Naples to Melbourn, passing through Arabia, Egypt, Brazil, to discover coffee
Twenty-five milliliters, so much measure the soul of coffee. Among the remaining certainties, which survived the weak thought, this remains to the Italians. But apparently it is only a film of disassembled sovranista bill, frame by frame, in a heretic booklet that reveals: that is only the number of the espresso, the content of a coffee cup, one of the many ways (and perhaps not even the best) to extract coffee drink.
Word of Andrea Cuomo and Anna Muzio, the heresiarchs authors of Coffee world, fresh print for the types of Cairo in the series of ilGolosario.
Paolo Massobrio was the first to bet on the project, or the first declared attempt to "tell Italians, as Italians, coffee as a universal product". A kind of hecatomb. According to the authors, in fact, if it is true that the language of coffee is Italian, so much so that the glossary used on a planetary scale is declined in the language of yes, it is also true that the Italian primacy belongs to a past era. The empire of the Specialty and the protagonists of the Third Wave (two words on which we will return), are elsewhere, like in Australia. Gulp.
And it would be the least, were it not for the fact that the coffee plant is originally from Ethiopia is discovered if you are looking through historical documents and maps as the two authors did scrupulously. That before arriving on our shores, from the Abyssinian region of Kaffa, Coffea has spread to Yemen and from here to the rest of the world, via Arabia and Egypt. Again, Brazil is the leader among the producer countries. And among consumers? Niet: Italy is only 18th. But then? To breathe a sigh of relief, we need to get to page 152, where between the coffee cities, Naples is celebrated as "unquestionably, the Italian and world capital of espresso", and
finally, take a sip of hot black coffee straight from the tazzulella as a consolation prize. Noting, however, that the creamy sauce with a lot of sugar, the one that makes us pride ourselves, is obtained from Robusta, which is the most widespread variety in Italy but also the most bitter, aromatically less complex and therefore subjected to greater toasting. of the two varieties of Coffea in use. In other words, less noble than the Arabica, which is superior to the bouquet, it contains more oils and twice as many chromosomes.
In short, it is worthwhile to get over it: "Coffee is everywhere, it belongs to everyone and it belongs to no one" and to leave with Andrea Cuomo and Anna Muzio on this 320-page journey, including thanks, around the coffee world. Sink your nose into the magnum sea of information on the daily beverage of which we know practically nothing, and discover its history, botany, geography, guess its perspectives and pillage anecdotes page after page. A lot of anecdotes, many of them entrusted to framed and art-titled notes, and salacious background, like the alternate fortunes enjoyed by the coffee or immediately during the
centuries: in 1746 Sweden forbade not only coffee, but also dishes and cups that were confiscated by the police; in 1674 the pamphlet The woman’s petition against the coffee was published in London, advocating the closure of coffee houses as a pastime that made husbands “sterile like those deserts from which the unhappy grain is said to come”; while Pope Clement VII, who went mad immediately after having tasted it, not only approved it but declared that it could even be baptized. As if to say that the Catholic Church, when she likes it, gives it to drink as she wants. An adventurous crossing guided by a salacious, dense and often amusing prose, which when it is the case takes sides. Certainly against the sweeteners "the Caporetto of the taste" and respectful but lukewarm towards the sweet coffee option, especially when the sugar intervenes to cover the defects acting as "exterminating angel of the organoleptic heritage of the coffee". In short, behind and around the coffee there is a world that, starting from this volume with a didactic vocation, reveals itself by returning a sense to the mechanical nature of a gesture consumed every day but without love and too much haste. Unlike what happens in the Specialty corners where coffee learns to know, taste and choose above all, because the varieties are as many as the extraction methods.
And even to taste: Cupping, it is said, a thing for expert lovers who, like petting, do it slowly. The rest is in the hands of the bartender, the absolute protagonist of the first wave (when coffee was considered a low-priced mass product, when "the best coffee in the world was our espresso"), the second wave in which new ones have taken hold recipes for coffee preparation but above all greater care and awareness with respect to roasting and preparations, and finally the third wave, that of Specialty coffee shops with the cult of raw materials and preparations.
At the end of the reading, the acquired knowledge is at least two. If it is true that Italy is no longer the navel of the coffee world, and that Naples must play with Melbourne, it is also true that "the handful of Italian immigrants who brought it here (in Australia, ed), the first machine for espresso, making it travel for 16,300 kilometers, they can be proud of the result achieved by their heirs ”.
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