Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cappuccino, Mi Seduce (Cappuccino, you seduce me)

I hate the way you seduce me, and the way you foam at the mouth. I hate the way you sit there delicately. I hate it when you call to me. I hate your small delightful spoon, and the way you calm my mind. I hate you so much it makes me quiver; it even makes me shiver. I hate it, I hate the way you're always graceful. I hate it when you don't try. I hate it when you make me happy, even worse when you make me sigh. I hate it that you're not around, and the fact that you didn't last for long. But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all
--Based off of 10 Things I Hate About You

Oh Cappuccino, you seduce me so swiftly with your sweet delectable, attractive allure. As I wrap my fingers around your warm, shapely, smooth mug, I can imagine coffee beans strung together like decorative lights, rolled along my back, delicately soothing me into a lull. Your aroma, it massages my sense of scent and sings to me with a soft sweetness like that of chestnuts or marshmallows on an open fire. You entice and you enchant. You invite me in like a bubble bath, and I wish I could just drown in your delightfulness. You kill me with your simplicity and I sip to savor your every drop. You induce intolerable amounts of emotion and drive me to a deep feeling of passion and lust for your lethal love. And while each cup of you is a cruel and well-intentioned one drink stand, I come back for more each time. I want you. I need you. I hate you--but I don't--"not even close--not even a little bit, not even at all." Oh Cappuccino, you seduce me...O-cappuccino.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tradizione (Tradition)

Look back on a time—a moment in your life that you want to repeat. And repeat that moment. Create a tradition.

That is what happened when I looked back on December 24, 2011. I thought of the day that I set off on a day long journey, in a Santa hat, to enjoy seven cappuccino along the cobble stoned alley ways of Rome. While Italian families were off destroying seven fish, I was drowning my loneliness of the holidays away in foam and bubble baths of Roman coffee. I was on the cappuccino crawl of the century—until I took the opportunity to do it again—only in America, and a week earlier than Christmas Eve this year. And now it’s not just the one time event, but rather the tradition—the memory I can keep living over and over again.

Originally, I had set out on this year’s cappuccino crawl with the idea that I would touch every borough. Seven cappuccino had been rough, and had taken a long time, and I wanted to cater the crawl to my current home—my real home. One cappuccino per borough. But plans—well they don’t always go according to plan—and this one didn’t even pretend to. After finding out that our first stop in Staten Island was closed, taking a random bus, attempting to take an express bus, and ending up on a bus with a driver who hated us—after our first mistake—we returned to Manhattan with a new plan: Manhattancino Crawl. Five cappuccino in five hours—in Manhattan. And while the disappointment of missing out on all five boroughs took a bit to fade, the hike through Manhattan soon unfolded into a wonderfully caffeinated, delicious day—taken over by these five shops:

La Colombe


Table 12

Via Quadronno


From foamy to decadent these cappuccini were far from disappointment. My mouth is already beginning to water at the thought of the next crawl--maybe a five borough crawl will win out--one of these days. For now...Salute.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stato della California di mente (California State of Mind)

I have officially found a way to teleport myself from New York City to LA in 1 subway transfer and 2 block walk. I didn't go to school for science, but I am pretty sure that all I had to do was walk into the new Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on 39th and Broadway to jet set to LA in an instant.

White cushioned walls, colorful posters on the walls, and an instant photo machine (FOR FREE), I definitely wasn't in any of my favorite New York City shops any more. I was officially in the California-based coffee shop, that recently opened in mid-town Manhattan. I was definitely in a place I could call a vacation on a lonely Saturday afternoon.

And the best part is that upon arriving, ordering, and sitting, I wasn't alone.

I was in the comfort of a foamy, beautiful mix of espresso and milk. I had a hand(le) to hold and I had my number one friend--a mug of cappuccino. I had my best friend Joe (hehe) to support me through my day--through my writing--through my relaxing. And I sipped on that cappuccino slowly, wishing it would never end, because even if it was a tad too foamy, it was still good, and it was still the perfect vacation from a lonely Saturday afternoon.

Science better catch up.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Immagine di cappuccino (Image of Cappuccino)

I drink A LOT of cappuccino. I drink it when I am sad--I drink it when I am happy. I drink it when I am neutral. I drink it to get a slight rush. I drink it to take a photo. I drink it to write my blog. I drink it to taste something amazing, wonderful and delightful. I drink it hold a hand. I drink it have a conversation. I drink it so I can always have a "Coffee date" aka date with my coffee. I drink it to inspire myself. I drink it to be happy. I drink a lot of cappuccino.

I recently watched the Matt Cutts in which he inspires people to try something new--for 30 days. I chose drawing. And today...I chose to draw my favorite cappuccino art. I think I'll like this challenge : )

Friday, August 12, 2011

Una preghiera di Cappuccino - (A prayer of Cappuccino)

Our Cappuccino, who art in mug

Swallowed be thy fame

Thy caffeine come

Thy will be drunk

In kitchen as it is in café

Give us this espresso, our daily dose

And forgive us our coffee lapses

As we forgive baristas who trespass against us

And lead us not into addiction

But deliver us to satisfaction. Amen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Perché Amo il Cappuccino? (Why do I love Cappuccino)

"Everyone needs a tagline. And I guess yours is cappuccino?"

That's what my boss said to me as I pulled out my cappuccino shirt and laughed about my recent purchase.

"You really do love it, don't you?" She added.

Still laughing I told her that I had also created business cards with a cappuccino image on them.

"It really is your tagline."

And then another co-worker chimed in.

"Why do you love it so much?"

That answer is easy. But it requires a story:

It starts with falling in love with coffee. You see, I can tell you the exact day that I began loving coffee. I was sitting in the kitchen with my mother, and she was filtering coffee into a mug that had the Starry Night design on it. I hadn't even tasted the coffee, but just the smell had gotten me. It was a scent like none other. The only competition, it had, in fact, and has ever had has been fresh chocolate chip cookies-which come in second place every time. You see, growing up, each time I noticed the steaming aroma moving through the house, I'd walk upstairs and sit with my mother. "One day this mug will be yours," she would tell me, as she sipped from the Starry Night mug.

The mug now resides on a shelf in our guest room. When I finally have my own place--I'll inherit it. I dream of my own starry night when I can drink a cappuccino from that mug myself. For now, I just have inherited a love of coffee that I am not sure I can ever lose.

In fact--in high school, I wrote a five minute audition speech comparing high school to a cup of coffee that won me the honor of being one of two class speakers on graduation day. Nearly four years later, I had debated re-writing the coffee metaphor to match college. But I think someone told me that the only speech I should be making about coffee again is at a support group for coffee lovers... "Hi, my name is Libby, and I am a coffee addict."

But it wasn't till my junior year of college that I discovered what a cappuccino was. I traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and into Italy. As I looked at a menu of coffee drinks, I felt like Columbus must have felt when he discovered a new world: Lost and heavenly all at once. There was espresso, and caffe Americano, and caffe lungo, and caffe late, and then--there it was--cappuccino. The only problem was I didn't know what any of these were. I hadn't taken an Italian class yet, and I had become accustomed to ordering a large-hot-caramel flavored coffee at the Dunkin Donuts located on the top of my campus. Everything was foreign to me--except the smell of the coffee shop. I nearly ordered a caffe Americano, but after watching my friends bitter expression, following a sip of her first cup of Joe in Europe, I went for the more fun sounding drink--the cappuccino.

It was then that I never looked back. It was then that I discovered bubbles, and foam, and fun latte art, and the pet peeves of Italians to drink a cappuccino after 10 am. It was then that I learned I didn't mind a coffee drink being so small in comparison to the ones I had always drank in America, because I could just buy more--taste more--treat myself more.

It took me two years to go back to Italy to have a cappuccino, after returning to America. Upon returning to Italy in October of 2010, I began my blog, drank up to 7 cappuccino in one day, attempted to make my own cappuccino (failing miserably), and coffee crawled through northern Italy.

And while my love for cappuccino started accidentally, my continued love has been purposeful.

Because my love for cappuccino is in lots of things. It is in the smooth sound of the steamer as my barista or baristo forms the foam. It's in the latte art I receive on each different occasion. It's in the familiar smell of the aroma that fills a room. It's in the smile my coffee shop friends have when they see my look of ecstasy upon receiving my beautiful mug of deliciousness. It's in the hand(le) to hold on each mug. It's in every cappuccino--even if some can't compete with others. It's in every part of cappuccino. And I don't think it's going anywhere--anytime soon.

And that's why I love cappuccino so much.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Prendo un cappuccino con una faccia di un Panda? "No" (Can I have a cappuccino with a Panda face? "No")

It is not every day that I meet a furry friend on my travels through coffee shops. Normally, I find a heart shape design or a leaf, or a flower in the foam of my cappuccino-- a symbol of my barista's or baristo's skill, passion for his or her art, and hope to make my day that much better. But last week, after returning to Via Quadronno for one of their delicious cappuccini, my friend and I were handed what seemed to be the most delicate design I had even seen.

There he was--just staring at us with beautiful details. The cappuccino was actually for my friend Ashley, and I could see the sadness in her eyes as she knew the design would soon be gone when she went to drink the coffee. The panda's eyes almost formed a tranquil look as well--as if he knew his time was short.

For the rest of the day I continued to talk about my run-in with a panda bear at the cappuccino shop. My co-workers were nearly as amazed as we were. So I made it my mission to visit another well-known cappuccino place in Lower Manhattan.

When I arrived, I ordered my cappuccino, hoping that without question I'd receive at least some design. Instead--I received this--rather quickly and sloppily (even though I was the only one in line):

I almost approached the barista to ask what THAT mess was. Is that a half-assed heart, I thought to myself. Was there a failed attempt? But I kept my mouth shut...sipped on what was actually a tasty cappuccino, and thought of kinder ways to approach the situation.

I returned to the counter, with the panda photo ready on m iPhone.

"Excuse me"
"Do you or any of the baristas here ever create art like this?" I nearly shoved my phone in her face.
"Ha," she laughed... "We don't have time for that--we are much too busy, we'd never get through a line. Plus we don't have the tools to do that."

Now--I may have been perfectly okay with this answer had she not continued, but it was when she continued that I had to refrain from pulling out my business card and telling her "I am no amateur in cappuccino tasting."

"Besides--after you do all that work, the cappuccino doesn't taste good."

I cringed.

'WHAT,' I exclaimed, in my head.

Ashley had declared her panda cappuccino delicious (Ashley was a fellow friend in Italy--so her opinion is as trust worthy as mine); and all my heart, leaf, and face cappuccini before that had been just the same--wonderful. And here, this barista was telling me that with more work, the cappuccino wouldn't taste as good.

But instead of saying this out loud, I nodded, walked out the door, and vowed never to return to La Colombe--no matter how good their cappuccino may have tasted--again.

Edited: November 12, 2011 -- I returned to the shop and had a cappuccino. I couldn't resist how good it tasted---Sigh. : )