Things are pretty simple in our house when it comes to coffee preparation: I have my moka pot and my husband his espresso machine. We have no need to contemplate other ways of making coffee (fare il caffè).
In the very early days of my blog, I wrote a few posts about Italian words related to drinking espresso, a sort of survival manual for Americans visiting Italy:
The coffee in the photo above is a homemade version of caffè americano, thus defined in my earlier post:
the shot of espresso is served in a cappuccino cup together with a small pitcher of hot water so the customer has control on the level of dilution.
I usually order a cappuccino when I visit a coffee bar in Italy, but that is a story for another day (soon, as I have a couple of recent adventures to share).
When I moved to the East Bay 18 years or so ago, I was introduced to Peet's. In the years, I have visited many Peet's stores, both in the East Bay and in San Francisco. For example, Peet's in Lafayette or Orinda is where I usually get together with two dear friends. And the original Peet's on Vine Street (Berkeley) is next door to my hairdresser, in the so-called gourmet ghetto, close to the restaurant Chez Panisse and the Cheeseboard. We are talking about important historical places here.
So, when the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program offered me to taste two new Peet's coffees, I readily signed up. I didn't know then that I had another sentimental reason for doing so. The two medium-roasted coffees are called Café Domingo and Café Solano. When I looked them up on the company website, I discovered that they are named after two of the Peet's stores in Berkeley: one on Domingo Avenue and the other on Solano Avenue. The store on Domingo Avenue is very close to our East Bay residence and I have ordered a cappuccino there many times (served in a ceramic cup), then sat with it on the outdoor bench that you see in the photo on the web page. And I have been several times to the store on Solano Avenue (a famous East Bay thoroughfare split between Berkeley and Albany).
I usually don't drink coffee at the end of a meal: my one-cup stovetop coffee pot gets used twice a day, mid-morning and early afternoon. For the top photo, I prepared coffee using Café Domingo in my moka pot, poured it in my pink cappuccino cup and then added hot water to make a caffè americano. A slice of panettone seemed like a good partner for the coffee and you can imagine the photo to portray your afternoon break or your dessert time around the Holidays (panettone being an Italian traditional Christmas cake).
Some time ago, I used a gift certificate to purchase a little gadget that makes hot milk foamy and in the photo above, you can see a homemade cappuccino that once again uses coffee made with my stovetop coffee pot. It has not become part of my coffee ritual at home, but it's nice to have it handy, should withdrawal symptoms manifest themselves, which can happen more easily after I come back from Italy and from a frequent consumption of the real thing. I drink cappuccino rigorously by itself and not after a meal.
The coffee I received was already ground. The default grinding in the US is for drip coffee and is too coarse for either the stovetop coffee pot or the espresso machine, so before using it, I briefly ran the coffee in the coffee grinder until it was of the desired fineness.
I will end this post with a quote from my article on how I make coffee at home:
At the end, preparing coffee is a ritual, and mine (rooted in early life experiences) is just as good as yours and my husband’s. His old La Pavoni workhorse hisses furiously to let him know it is ready, and in response he maneuvers the handle to direct the steam through the basket containing the freshly ground coffee... I still reach for my little moka, smiling at its familiar look and feel. Life’s good, it tells me: Here’s your coffee.
Many thanks to the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program and Peet's for offering me the opportunity to taste the new coffees.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the bere un caffè a casa audio file [mp3].
Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
FTC discosure: as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Peet's, I received two 12 oz. bags of Peet's new medium roast coffees — Café Domingo and Café Solano — at no charge. I have not and will not receive any monetary compensation for mentioning the product on my blog.