Coffee culture never rocked my world, not even when I lived in Los Angeles and stood behind a coordinated and cute Britney Spears while ordering matching soy chai lattes at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Beverly Hills- long before her shaved head and Starbucks decline. I just didn’t get coffee chains that promoted “buy ten drinks, get the 11th free” while pimping over-sized, watered-down beverages in paper cups. I was too uncoordinated for hot paper, too unorganized with the chadded cards and too agro about chain stores.
Over the past years of living in Italy, it’s inevitable that I’ve reached caffe nirvana from my penchant for torrefazioni, local blends from privately-owned shops to my most favorite fetish Espressamente illy, the very cutesy coffee house chain by java giant illy. Even though I didn’t want to like the chain by principle alone, I am in lust. And it’s not about the taste or quality of the coffee, which — although I cannot distinguish Illy from Lavazza– is quite delicious. It’s the damn style of all things illy.
Espressamente illy caffes in Rome are usually cornershop quaintness– perfectly tiny and stylish, outfitted in all things illy from minimal design to beverage-specialized cups and glasses to easily distinguish a caffe to a doppio, a shakerato from a caffe latte fredo. I am, in fact, obsessed with the Illy mini-milk bottles. On a technical note, the bartenders are organized and fast, the bar stocks delectable pastries and is packed (usually with very nice looking men in even very nicer suits) and the overall flavor is Italian chic.
It may just be the 8th chakra.
Word to the Wise. . .
Since illy is wise to the 21st century and its quicksilver information needs, you can find your illy fix more readily with illy locator, the app I just stumbled across on illy’s site. FYI- illy is everywhere, whether a full-fledged espressamenteilly bar or a local shop making macchiati only with illycaffe.