I think I finally discovered the secret to Italian coffee…

….a cappuccino is made with whole milk.

While most Americans would shudder at the thought (because that has to be more fattening than a triple soy cinnamon dolce low fat latte, right?), I am 100% positive that this is the advantage that an Italian cappuccino has over an American one. Well, that and the fact that 1) you are drinking it most likely in a perfect little Italian bar and not Starbucks and 2) it is not Starbucks “coffee.”

Ever since the first time I cracked a joke in Italian and got a roaring response from a group of Italians, I have been addicted to making jokes that are actually funny in another language. My running joke here in Alghero has actually been pretty popular. People always want to know the biggest differences between America and Italy and naturally I almost always list coffee at number one. As I explain how great an espresso, a macchiatto, or a cappuccino is in comparison to American “coffee,” I always end with this punch line: “American ‘coffee’ is actually just coffee-flavored water.” I seem to get laughs 100% of the time, so I’d call it a success. And it’s totally true, no?

As a former Italian professor once told me, “Il caffé è una religione.” Translation: coffee is a religion. Italians worship their coffee and so should we. If I was in charge, the first thing I would do is transplant this place into every building currently owned by a Starbucks. It’s just a family-owned bar like any other coffee bar here, where they look at you strangely if you ask for anything “to-go,” and, if you’re lucky enough, they may even begin to remember your usual.

Viva il caffe italiano