Monday, December 18, 2006

Italian Coffee Pot Caffettiera is Simple yet Amazing

What is Caffettiera? Somehow, if anyone have found this word Caffettiera, it is difficult to understand what it exactly means? Caffettiera is an Italian word which means the ‘coffee pot’. Caffettiera, the Italian coffee pot is not only an amazing gift but also the cheapest and the best gift that the visitors can carry to their countries if they have not yet found in their places. It is amazing and has a sleek and stylish look due to its symmetrical design and construction. It is just a coffee pot but there are some hidden basic principles of physics or engineering that one can observe in it.

Though there are many methods of making coffee, some traditional and some advanced methods employing machines, it is always special to have some coffee pot like Caffettiera which is very simple, very easy to use and which virtually don’t need any maintenance.

It is said to me by some of my Italian colleagues in the office that Caffettiera is specific to Naples (Napoli) which is also the birth place of the world famous Pizza.

Italians are the lovers of coffee and probably we don’t find in any other country this many varieties of coffee. The names that the visitors can find are Caffe normale - Normal Coffee, Caffe Lungo - Long Coffee, Cappuccino - a popular name all over the world, contains steamed milk with Coffee, Caffe macchiato - literally meaning Stained Coffee, staining refers to adding of a little milk to the coffee, Latte macchiato – literally meaning Stained Milk, here the milk is stained with coffee, and so on.

It is surprising to find that some of the French, who are the neighbours to the Italians, don’t know about this caffettiera, the Italian coffee pot. Many people may get confused by just looking at this caffettiera’s physical appearance assuming it to be a simple jug, because this particular coffee pot caffettiera is something like an hour glass by symmetry and seems like a jug due to its handle and the projected mouth like a jug.

I have been staying in Italy for over a year by now and I had seen this coffee pot Caffettiera many times but never tried to understand or use it until the last two months. The reason for this was very clear. Being an Indian and a guy who prefers tea to coffee (though coffee is equally preferable), I was never interested in thinking about Coffee even. But now I feel that there is something special with Italian coffee.

It is very hard for any Indian who comes to Italy as a visitor to understand that people here take very strong coffee compared to what is generally seen or expected in India. Of course, I remember a funny comment made by the French man in the movie ‘Godzilla’ in which, he stays in the United states for his mission, and during their stay there, his colleague offers him the coffee and he takes the American Coffee and criticizes whether it can be called coffee.

Now my conception has changed and I now think that all the Europeans probably like the strong coffee. Today I too like to have this strong coffee. It is good that I like all the varieties of the coffee available here. I tried all the varieties available here and also found some strange habits of the Italians about the consumption of coffee.

Some generally take Capuccino during the morning after breakfast and at the other times, like after the lunch and dinner, they only take Caffe normale or Caffe lungo. It is equally surprising to Indians to know that Italians consume coffee as soon as they finish their meal. And it is also true that they consume coffee for many number of times in the office too. In every office in Italy, there will be some coffee machines, and people make best use of them. So, on an average the common people in Italy take coffee for more than five times a day.

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