Was it a Bitter Experience?|Yuriko Mikami|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2017.03.10
  • Was it a Bitter Experience?
What do you do when you want to take a break during work?

Do you smoke? Go outside? Meditate? Call a good friend? Eat sweets? Have a cup of tea?
Do you do it alone? Or invite someone to join you?

In Italy, quickly drinking up an espresso is the main style of taking a break.
What was your first experience drinking espresso like?
The first time I drank espresso in Italy was when Italian colleagues invited me to a bar (cafeteria) around the time I had just come to Italy.

A pre-concert rehearsal had finished and during the little time we had before the performance, the Italians invited each other to a bar saying, “Caffè??” “Caffè!!” The word, “Caffè?” was also tossed in my direction, but I didn’t understand Italian yet. I’m a tea person, and in Japan I never really drank coffee. I didn’t really want coffee then either, but I told myself, “When in Rome…” I made the decision to take a giant first step to try Italian customs.

For me, someone who had never put sugar in my coffee or tea, as soon as I tasted that Caffè black I was shocked by the strong bitterness. I considered the bitter taste in my mouth while on the fence about whether I should stick with my usual practice and continue drinking it without sugar, or seek relief with sugar. Meanwhile, my Italian colleagues had long finished drinking theirs and were on their way out of the bar, talking energetically. I hurriedly threw in some sugar and without the time to taste whether the coffee was sweeter and tasted good, I gulped it down and ran after the others. That was my experience.

Now, after living in Italy for 20 years, I don’t think twice about the bitterness of espresso. It’s become the norm. It’s said that the biggest key to delicious coffee lies in the technique used to roast the coffee beans. An Italian family I know that runs a major wholesale coffee bean business readily taught one of their employees the roasting process that was crucial to their company, only to have that employee run off and establish his own coffee company. After that, it was only taught from parent to child, becoming a closely guarded company secret.

I used to make fun of, and was amused by, Italians who traveled with their own ground coffee beans and Moka coffee machine. However, I also take them to my parents’ home and make espresso in an old-style Moka machine, even though there is an abundance of products that readily make delicious-tasting coffee in Japan…


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  • Yuriko Mikami
  • AgeDog (INU)
  • GenderFemale
  • JobMusician

A cellist based in Milan. Performs solo and ensemble concerts, as well as produces multi-style stage performances that combine theatrical shows, images, dances and live music.

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