FOOD | My Forever Love for COFFEE and COFFEE SHOPS!

Being in Europe for vacation reminds me of the many reasons why I love going to coffee shops/cafes for a cup of coffee and one or two pastries on the side.

I lived in Bologna Italy for almost 5 years and that's where I first found "mi'amore" (my love) for coffee and pastries.

When the word Italy is mentioned, I find it amusing how many (especially foodies alike) will instantly think of coffee and croissant! (but then of course come pizza, pasta, gelato then bags and shoes. Lol.)
It’s no wonder, because all over Italy (even Europe as a whole), there’s literally a coffee shop or “il bar” in almost every corner of the street. Italians themselves are proven to drink 7-8 expressos a day! Yes, that much! It is then said that Italy is the spiritual home of coffee.
I’m not an Italian but I’m sure you (who have been to Italy and tried the coffee there) would agree with me when I say “there’s no coffee like that in Italy!” – not even Starbucks! Oh, I don’t even want to use it for comparison to tell you the truth!

On this post I’d like to share some fun facts about Italian coffee and the different coffee shops experiences I had recently in the hunt for coffee that can remind me of what I use to enjoy in Italy.

Here are some fun facts about coffee in Italy that I personally appreciate and miss:
  • SIMPLICITY – a coffee order can be said using “one to two words” max and without having the option of “different sizes”.
  1. Caffe’ – a strong shot of espresso
  2. Macchiato – an espresso with a dash of steamed milk
  3. Americano – an espresso with added hot water
  4. Cappuccino – an espresso topped with warm frothy milk with an option of adding chocolate/mocha
  5. Caffe’ latte or Latte macchiato – a glass of warm milk with a tiny droplet of coffee
***My favorite is cappuccino because of the perfect blend of the coffee’s bitterness and the milk’s frothiness.
***I love how I don’t have to order so complicatedly by saying something like : “ I want a tall/grande/venti double shot skinny vanilla latte with whipped cream on top!” lol.

Although throughout the years where coffee variations are created, simplicity is still Italian’s best way of selling coffee by sticking to their traditional ones.
Here are some of the coffee variations I have tried and remembered:
  1. Caffe’ corretto – coffee with liquor
  2. Doppio – double espresso
  3. Ristretto – espresso with less water
  4. Cappuccino scuro – cappuccino with less milk
  5. Caffe’ lungo – espresso with more water resulting to a larger coffee
  • CONSISTENCY – no matter where you are in Italy, rest assured that the coffee’s quality and taste are consistent.
    That is heavily roasted, bittersweet flavored with a brown foam or crema on top.

    ***I miss this fact everytime I visit a coffee shop here in the US.  Wouldn’t you agree with me if I say, “I have never had an exactly-the-same tasting plain caramel frappuccino from Starbucks!” It’s different based on location, barista, and even season. Lol. I’m just glad that most of the cafes I’ve tried, other than Starbucks ofcourse, keep their flavors consistently(almost!).

    I’ve read an article that claimed that Italians don’t like hanging out in café’s and only run there, order and gulp those espressos in one shot. I personally disagree with it because throughout the time I was living in Italy, I’ve seen people who do make that kind of a quick drop by/coffee stop in the mornings before going to school or work, and that’s because they are in a hurry; but 90% of Italians and residents there love to enjoy and drink their coffee (either standing up or sitting down) as they talk to their company or even to strangers. And I know I loved to look at and experience that kind of atmosphere… It gives you that moment of relaxation as you sip your coffee and eat a dolce(pastry) that’s different from having it at home.
    That’s why I am glad that the option of “coffee take away” does not exist in cafes in Italy (except in train stations).

    Personal reasons why I love coffee and coffee shops:
  • Good quality coffee and cozy coffee shops remind me of home – Italy.
  • Sipping coffee with a pastry while hanging out in a nice and warm coffee shop doing anything or even nothing give me that sense of relaxation I desperately need after a long day or week of work.
  • My husband shares the same love for good quality coffee, so coffee shops are mostly where we have our mini-dates.
  • Coffee and coffee shops don’t only fill my taste buds with yumminess but also fill my heart with joy as they become one of my precious memories that I photograph a lot!
So, since I am no longer in Italy or Europe, I have to hunt for good coffee and adorable coffee shops near me.
Here are some of the good ones I found… starting with the most recent one I’ve visited.
***I have included their Instagram account links and website for you to check.

  • 18 GRAMS COFFEE AND TEA (http://www.18gramscoffee.com)
    In Elk Grove, Ca
    On my first visit last weekend, I’ve enjoyed my sea salt cream topped caramel cold brew with a cinnamon croissant.
    The coffee was just right! I could taste the coffee’s bitterness that blended so well with the sea salt cream’s saltiness and the caramel flavor’s sweetness.
    I also love the shop’s contemporary industrial style décor. It’s a very pleasant place to hang out and relax.
    Their menu is filled with so many selections of coffees and teas that I sure would want to come back for to try!
    The location is nearby highway 99 freeway and is very easy to access, without any difficulty of finding a parking spot.

  • VIVE LA TARTE (http://www.vivelatarte.com)
    In San Francisco, Ca
    I love how their coffee here is strong! I ordered the coconut cold brew and I could really taste that bitterness goodness!
    Their baked goods also deserve 5 stars! I really liked the strawberry cream filled croissant, the mango coconut tart, the arugula/mushroom truffle focaccia and the bacon & egg focaccia.
    The place’s atmosphere is also great – it’s minimalistic, wide open and bright! It’s perfect for work/study/meeting someone. There’s also a cozy covered outside seating area.
    I would love to go back here again to try their other coffee blends and their cheesecake that everyone’s talking about in yelp!
    The only thing I hate about this place is its location – it’s so busy and finding available parking is horrible!

  • IDENTITY COFFEES (http://www.identitycoffees.com)
    In Sacramento, Ca

    It’s a cute hipster coffee shop. I love the industrial décor and how the place is so wide and spacious!
    This is where I first tried an “affogato” – espresso/coffee dessert with a scoop of ice cream! Yes, ice cream!
    I picked vanilla flavor to go with my affogato and I loved it! After I finished it, I also ordered a plain cold brew which my husband said that was too bitter but I liked it that way too – although I would agree that adding cream and a little sugar will also make it taste even better.
    This coffee shop is located in a cute and quiet neighborhood and parking is never a problem.
    The menu offers a variety of coffees and a few teas.

  • PARIS BAGUETTE (http://www.parisbaguette.com)
    In Dublin, Ca

    This is a nice Asian and French bakery and café, and is my favorite hang-out spot for coffee and pastry.
    They offer a variety of tasty baked goods, along with their tasty coffees, teas, juices and smoothies.
    Everytime I visit, I always order a cappuccino with a mango coconut croissant. I also love their strawberry chocolate shortcake and their cheese danish.
    It’s a typical European cafe décor inspired coffee shop that offers a relaxed atmosphere. Customers have access to a free and fast Wi-Fi. Haha
    Check out my YouTube video about Paris Baguette by clicking here.

So by now you should already know that:
  • I am crazy for good quality bitter coffees
  • I drool over yummy (European) pastries
  • I always long to relax in a cozy coffee shop
  • I love taking photos of my coffee shop experiences
And you’re definitely correct! Haha
I hope you enjoyed this post and please feel free to share/comment about your favorite coffee shops and what you regularly order.

Thank you again for reading and until next time!

Much love, Christie 



2 comments

THE IMPORTED WIFE said...

Love love love this post! I love coffee. I actually drink coffee all day (I know it's bad). It's funny because whenever I think about EU, I always think about cappuccino and croissant. When I was in Verona, all I did is visit Juliet's house and read book while drinking coffee (and that's like all day).

Ana Christie said...

You’re a certified coffee addict too the sis! 😅☺️ I’m glad you enjoyed this post... and I’m just imagining how lovely the feeling must have been drinking your cup of coffee at Juliet’s home.... so italian-ish! Haha. Would love to try that next time K visit Verona... ❤️

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