The Italian espresso culture behind Starbucks

In Italy we don’t have Starbucks and when I heard about it on TV more than five years ago before coming to Canada, I couldn’t even imagine that it could become a sort of addiction.

Why Starbucks is not present in Italy? Well… firstly, they say it’s because of the price of coffee that is kind of a rip-off.

Secondly, American people don’t care about the price but they simply want something available and handy when they get off the train and go straight to work. In Italy, there’s plenty of bars everywhere, in every corner of the streets.

Moreover, Italians are not used to walk with a plastic cup in their hands (they would not be able to gesticulate when they talk). They prefer to enter every bar every 10 minutes and ask for espresso (and a croissant for breakfast).

Sipping a coffee or a cappuccino in a bar is such a deep, sophisticated and intimate experience for Italians, and perhaps Starbucks would force them to abandon their tradition. However, I’m sure that the reasons behind the decision of not exporting Starbucks to Italy are more economic than “psychological”.

I read that Howard Schultz, president and CEO of the Starbucks Corporation visited Italy in the mid 1980s. He saw what kind of atmosphere we have in Italian espresso bars: people talking to each other, the barista with a big smile stamped on his face and the clerk joking around and calling the clientele by their names. Schultz thought it was more a “theater” than a bar and he thought of exporting that atmosphere to United States.

I know that it may sound weird but I’ve never been a coffee lover. I prefer tea rather than coffee.

Until a few months ago, I used to seek inner peace and a contemplative dimension in the mystic world of tazo chai (a delicious blend of black teas accented with sweet cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and vanilla). Much more better than an expensive full immersion yoga program…

… I do still need yoga though but, it’s been a while now, I took a decision that changed my life forever (it sounds dramatic but it’s true).

They say that the first step towards healing an addiction is to admit you’re addicted in the first place. So I quit. YES. I QUIT! It wasn’t easy, believe me. Moreover, I have a Starbucks store just on my doorstep and this didn’t help me. How to quit?

1) Do the math. Since I haven’t found a rich Prince Charming yet (I want to take this opportunity to make a plea…), I had to pay for my tall non-fat decaffeinated tazo chai. The price for the tall size is around $3,50. Let’s say $4… If you buy it every day it would be $28 per week, $112 per month, $1,344 every year. Hellooo, did you hear me? $1,344!!! You can buy a Louis Vuitton bag with that money!!!

2) Don’t be lazy. Have your breakfast at home and prepare something hot to bring with you when you go to work. I usually prepare green tea with no sugar in it. Sooo saaaad!

3) Calories savings. A tall drink of tazo chai has 170 calories and the fact that I used to order the non-fat tazo chai with skim milk didn’t make so much difference.

As you can see from the picture above, I have my personalized card (there’s no money inside but it’s so cool) and I treat myself with a tazo chai once a week.

Life is so SWEET! 😉

About pasta loves me

Giornalista professionista, laurea in lingue e letterature straniere e un master in Social Communication. Piacentina d’origine, pugliese d’adozione dal 2012, cresciuta a tortelli e gnocco fritto, impara a cucinare in Canada, a Toronto, dove ha vissuto sei anni e dove ha lavorato per il quotidiano italiano Corriere Canadese. Oltreoceano scopre una diversità culinaria etnica senza confini. Da allora la sua vita cambia. Cucina e ristoranti diventano luoghi interscambiabili di idee, progetti, tradizioni e passioni. Ama assaporare, provare, gustare. E fare foto. Conduce su Telenorba e TgNorba24 la trasmissione “I colori della nostra terra”, un programma che parla di ruralità, agroalimentare ed eccellenze enogastronomiche della Puglia. Ha collaborato con I Love Italian Food e il Cucchiaio d’Argento ed è spesso chiamata a far parte di giurie di eventi a carattere enogastronomico e di concorsi legati al mondo della pizza. Recensisce pizzerie per guide cartacee e online. Nel 2011 crea Pasta Loves Me, un blog che parla di lei, di pasta, food e lifestyle. È fondatrice e responsabile di Puglia Mon Amour, un’avventura che vive con gli occhi curiosi di turista e l’entusiasmo di un’innamorata per una terra che regala ogni giorno emozioni, genuinità e solarità. Ha la pizza napoletana nel cuore e tutto quello che rende felice il suo palato. E vive con una certezza: la pizza non le spezzerà mai il cuore.

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