I don’t know why, but I find it very hard to walk past a coffee shop (especially a non chain shop like Starbucks) without nosing my head in. I’m a huge fan of my little coffee dens, and I take great pleasure in rooting out these hidden gems in towns. Knowing where I can get a damn good cup of coffee is a must for me.
I do feel sad though at how few of these places you can find, and how in so many of them, a good cup of coffee is merely the last vestiges of a dream. I hate it when people ruin a cup of coffee, because it doesn’t take much effort to learn how to make coffee properly.
Still you do occasionally find some absolutely fantastic hidden Gems. I still think one of my favorites was in Palermo in Sicily. A little back street coffee shop whose name I simply cannot remember, yet it was by far the single best cup of coffee I have ever had.
You kind of have to expect it in places like Italy and Sicily though. In fact you see it a lot more on the continent. Coffee is a way of life over there. Something to be savoured and enjoyed, something that needs to be done right every time.
Suggest to an Italian that he should have instant coffee and I’m pretty certain you’ll have made an enemy for life.
I’m often amused by the people who don’t understand mankind’s love affair with coffee, they’ve yet to understand the thrill of that first sip, and the subsequent energy that comes with. That and the taste and the smell. It’s a hidden thrill, and nothing is better than the smell of fresh ground bean. And the entire experience is damn addictive.