We love coffee–the taste, the smell, the ritual and companionship of sharing a cup.

My husband, Alex, and I love coffee. We enjoy savoring the taste, the smell, the ritual, and companionship of a sipping a cup in any setting—from our back deck in the early morning to an afternoon piazza in Florence.

I wasn’t always interested or a fan of coffee. From my teen years through college, I’d take the occasional dram from someone else’s cup, but even the stress of mid-terms and finals couldn’t convince me to get hooked. Growing up, the steam and hiss of the percolator in my parents’ kitchen was a sound of comfort—it meant my father was awake and preparing for his workday. It brought feelings of security and contentment to my child’s spirit. Sometimes I’d creep out for an early morning hug, always eliciting a warm hug from Dad before sneaking back into bed.

Long after it would have done my college testing brain any good, in my mid-twenties I started to buy instant coffee, making a cup now and then to enjoy the aroma. Even without the accompanying noise of a pot, I still couldn’t develop any satisfaction of the taste.

Transitioning to a Love of Coffee

In my thirties, living in Montana, I began to take tentative swallows. Jackie probably got me hooked on the sharing part of coffee during those cold Montana mornings. Two sisters camped out in cushy chairs before a burning fireplace. A Cousin introduced me to my first latte some years later, which solidified my coffee infatuation.

Genoa, Italy coffee with...Seester
Genoa, Italy coffee with…Seester (Jackie)
Genoa, Italy coffee with...
Genoa, Italy coffee with…

When Jackie and I had our Italian escapade, we at our Genoa hotel—a lovely vintage affair with an old wrought iron elevator wrapped in glass, we arrived late in the morning. Having missed breakfast at the hotel, which made the waiter quite sad, he took his time to assure us we could have coffee anytime, showing us how to work the complex cappuccino machine. 



Espresso is More Than a Latte

In the Cinque Terre, watching the locals enthusiastically downing their espresso in one quick swallow. They stir sugar into the tiny cup, lift, drink, laugh with the proprietor and dash off to work. We tried to emulate their rapidity, but were ever so happy (even with our lost luggage) to savor the liquid as we stared out at the glistening Ligurian Sea. It was delightful to find that everywhere we ordered coffee it came in a real cup rather than paper. What a novel idea.

Alex is a connoisseur of espresso. He samples espresso everywhere we travel, assessing critically whether it is too acid, too thick, too watery or just perfect. He refuses to dilute his brew with either milk or sugar, manly man that he is—fighting the natural bitterness and assessing the beans on their own merit.

When I discovered the difference between lattes (coffee, lots of heated milk) and cappuccinos (frothy milk, but not too much … espresso, but not too strong) … I fell head over heels in love. And just when I think I’ve got my travel coffee lingo down pat, I forget how we Americanize everything and order a “latte” for breakfast at the Vesuvius Hotel in Rapallo. And I receive frothy, warm milk and a puzzled look from the polite waitress. I burst out laughing, as does Alex and I explain. A shot of espresso arrives and I pour my milk into it. She delights in this routine throughout our stay.

I also learn on this trip that a macchiato (espresso with a shot of that hot milk) is the afternoon drink of choice—with lattes and cappuccinos reserved for before noon consumption.

With the world safer from a non-caffeinated me, it’s nice to see an evolution in water-processed decaf options.

For our self-Christmas gift following a trip to Switzerland, we decided upon a Nespresso machine. Ah, what a wonderful, extra special treat for our coffee addiction. At the press of a button, the perfect espresso, coffee, cappuccino or latte appears before us.

I can’t make coffee art the way an ace barista does, but I’ve created accidental clouds in my coffee. What do you think? And are you a coffee lover or do you prefer tea? If you love coffee, why?

Note: Nespresso capsules are 100% recyclable for FREE

Even Burt & Muggins get in on the coffee action.

*Read, Lovely Lyon