Tea and coffee. About normal and abnormal
The very first time in Italy, until I learned to speak Italian fluently, I was tormented by the question: “Do you have normal or hot tea?” I could speak tè caldo – hot tea, and I pronounced it as clearly as possible when ordering. And they continued to ask me with pressure: is it hot or is it NORMAL?
There is no normal tea in Italy, unfortunately. I have not seen a teapot in any house, nor in a single supermarket have I seen loose tea in packs. Tea is sometimes brewed in bags, and water is boiled in a saucepan, and a tea bag is thrown right there so that no one has the opportunity to regulate the strength of the tea. Well, and, of course, to wait until he cools down while talking, and drink barely warm pale yellow water. What for? Well, some Italians convinced that tea is good. It is also very useful to drink chamomile (also from a bag brewed by the same method) – to calm the nerves and better fall asleep. In my opinion, only doctors know about the antiseptic properties of chamomile. And neurologists drink chamomile to calm them down. If you thought about valerian, then you need to know that valerian is not good for calming Italian nerves. If only because it is seasoning for meat, that’s how. Tea by weight can be bought in specialized stores – where Italians buy coffee. And it took me a year to find tea that you can drink without wincing. Teapots can also be found on sale, however, they usually have a decorative rather than practical purpose – otherwise how can one explain that the contents of these teapots do not pour out of the spout in principle? I had the idea of walking around the do-it-yourself store with a bottle of water and checking the teapots for functionality before buying. But Italian sellers did not appreciate my thought. I finally solved the problem, found an English store and thus confirmed a simple hypothesis: since the British know a lot about tea, then they should have human teapots.
But here they make great coffee. All foreigners living in Italy admit to each other that it was only for the sake of Italian coffee that it was worth coming to this country. Italians themselves drink coffee not only for breakfast, on the way to work, but also after lunch, and even after dinner. Coffee after a hearty dinner is also accompanied by a glass of grappa. Grappa and coffee after you are fed for four hours for slaughter – it’s just great! Somehow, all this food immediately fits in your stomach, your eyes no longer close, and you can easily walk home from the guests. And fall asleep in your own bed. Without any daisies, by the way.
Coffee is also an occasion for patriotism. Sandro came to Nice several times for me and never once let me calmly drink coffee and smoke a cigarette. Smoke along the way, he said, and literally stuffed me into the car. At first, I attributed this strangeness due to the clouding of reason that occurs during the first love. Then she became indignant and demanded coffee. Let’s have coffee in Ventimiglia, he said and stuffed me into the car. But now I want coffee, I said. And now we’ll go fast, he said and put pressure on the gas. Well, it began to come to my mind, clouded by love, that there was some good reason to drink coffee not in Nice, but in some Ventimiglia unknown to me. The reason was very simple: Italian coffee tastes better. And Ventimiglia was just the first Italian town on the way. And I thought that there are some architectural monuments, ancient cafes or other beauties. No, there was just good coffee. And it was more than normal for Sandro to tolerate half an hour in order to drink un caffè come si deve – that is, coffee as it should, as it should be.
It must be said here that for some time I did not have the opportunity to fully appreciate the taste of Italian coffee, because even after meeting Sandro I drank Americano coffee for quite some time. In Italy, they looked at me badly when I ordered such coffee. But the client is the client, moreover, he doesn’t speak our way. In general, they clearly thought: well, what to take from her, with the poor, let him drink his swill. With mournful faces, they poured a standard portion of espresso into a cappuccino cup, put it in front of me, waited a while – but what if I change my mind? – and then with a sigh they brought me boiled water in the milkman. And they looked at Sandro with sympathy, of course. And Sandro once again showed great worldly wisdom. He did not insist or explain, he just waited for me to mature. And he was right. In the end – almost a year after our acquaintance – I decided to drink out of curiosity what the Italians call caffè normale, and … after that, it never occurred to me in my life to order coffee in a large mug. It’s just that I did it very wrong time – the summer and summer season began in Russia, and now in different Russian cafes I had to demand myself an espresso, then invariably say that it’s not really espresso, that normal coffee should be much more thick and concentrated ask to do rist…