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Friday, February 6, 2009


One of my earliest olfactory memories is of the smell of espresso brewing. I remember walking into my kitchen early in the morning still rubbing the sleep from my eyes and seeing my Father gulping down his espresso (his breakfast) in the little green glass demitasse cup. He would look down from his newspaper and give me a wink and smile and then continue to read his paper. This was his morning ritual and so was mine for many years as I was a Daddy's girl all the way. The smell of espresso brewing is the true hallmark of every Italian home and when I was visiting my family in Italy it was in each and every home I visited. The smell would make me feel safe, content and kind of "high" all at once! Little did I know that there was chemistry behind all of this. A recent study on Scent Therapy proved that just the scent of coffee (or chocolate) caused one's mood to improve and improved typical clerical work tasks!
If you would like to experience a true cup of Italian espresso here are the basics:
1) All the equipment you need is a stainless steel stove top espresso maker, la Moka
2) In Italy most people use all ready ground coffee but of the best quality they can find. This is stored in a tightly sealed bag in a dark cabinet.
3) Fill the bottom part of the pot with filtered water to just below the screw
4) Place the basket in and scoop coffee in patting down with the back of a spoon (I do this in the sink because of the mess) the Neapolitans also poke 2 holes into the coffee with a toothpick (although this may be just for effect)
5) Screw on the top of the pot tightly and place on the edge of burner (To prevent handle from becoming too hot)
6) Start the Moka on a very low setting (the lower the better but also the longer it takes) and do not touch until it starts to sputter furiously
7) Pour into a demitasse cup (about 2 fingers worth "due dita", add 1-3 small spoonfuls of sugar and stir furiously (there's that word again, it just fits)
8) Now drink it in 1 -2 gulps, just like a true Italian does!
This is my father's Neapolitan espresso pot he brought with him to America in 1962 and that is the green demitasse cup he would drink from each morning.

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