Monday, September 19, 2011

how to make Italian espresso like an American

Our last morning in Venice dawned cool and rainy.  Sicily, clear at the other end of Italy, has a climate like central California, and therefore it rarely rains in September.  So to be in Venice on a rainy day felt just as exotic and cozy as it sounds.

Having neither umbrella nor rain jacket with us, and also lulled into peaceful somnolence by the rain, we decided to stay right where we were.  We were renting our Venetian studio for $89 per day, so why not do some staycation in it?

So we watched our neighbors move.  That meant loading all their belongings into a barge and puttering downstream to their new house.  No moving trucks in Venice!  No cars or motorized street vehicles at all.  Just boats.

The psychotherapist who owns the studio had three espresso pots (moka pots, or macchinetta) on top of his refrigerator.  We put those little pots to good use that rainy morning. 

A little tutorial on coffee-making, Italian-American style.  Begin with your supplies: ground coffee and your moka pot.

Fill the boiler/lower half of the moka pot with water.  Spoon ground coffee into the basket.  A lot of coffee makes espresso.  A little less makes a strong, dark cup for an americana like myself. 

Fit the basket into the pot.  Screw on the top of the pot, which is currently empty.

Put it on the stove.  Light the stove, which involves turning on the gas, a short match, and your hand.  Watch out!

After a few moments, the water heats up in the bottom chamber.  It bubbles up through the coffee and out a spout in the middle of the upper chamber.  The upper chamber fills with rich, dark coffee.

Pour your fresh coffee into a teacup.

Add a little zucchero.

And a tad of whole milk.

And then sip and enjoy!  While the creepy anthropological photo smokes in the background and your darling daughter (a future coffee aficionado, clearly) takes it all in.

We spent our last day in Venice day in the kitchen, reading silently and aloud, drinking teacup after teacup of strong dark coffee, and charming (and being charmed by) our daughter.  Speaking of whom, we discovered this day that Lena has a tooth!  A little sharp white nubbin working its way out of her lower jaw.  Baby's getting so big!


  1. We have one of these and love it. And both you AND your daughter are darling!

  2. That picture of Lena looking at you while you take a sip is priceless!

  3. Okay I cannot get over that picture of Lena looking at you. That is incredible. And I really like the first picture with the pink umbrella.

  4. WAIT. I just realized that in that picture the poster behind you is of a man's face so it looks like a third face in the picture. So it looks like Lena is watching you and then he is watching her watch you/both of you together. Did you do that on purpose? So cool!

  5. wait I can't get over how cool that is

  6. haha thank you, Autumn. :-) Elliott took the picture and then I edited it... and I think we were more going for balance/rule of thirds, but i guess something better came out of it!


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