Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Italian Culture of Coffee - Conversation, Family and Love

Enjoying a cup of Lavazza espresso with my family --made with my new Philips Saeco Espresso Machine



What is it about espresso and Italian families?  The one food element in an Italian family that often brings us together and gives us a sense of comfort at family dinners, occasions and most events.   Since I was little, growing up in our Italian household --I always thought coffee was normal where even kids could drink it.  I remember my father even putting a little bit of coffee in my bottle as a baby. Granted I may have been a hyper baby, but ask any Italian and they say they put a little coffee in the latte.    As I got older,  you realize that having a cup of espresso is really a lifestyle.  There is style, etiquette and a lot of emotion that goes into espresso.  Often when we would visit my family in Italy over the summers, I remember my Uncle Franky taking such pride in boiling the espresso, waiting, stirring the sugar and then serving it right away so it wouldn't lose it's savory taste or heat.    Not only did making espresso at home become such an important element in our family, but it also signified a time for family to gather, talk,  digest and really slow down to enjoy the moment.  You think -- 'Really does espresso do all that? I say, yes... if you go to Italy and someone invites you for an espresso,  you better accept!  If you deny someones invitation for an espresso at home or at an espresso bar you're basically saying 'I don't want to invest in that slow down or in conversation or time with you.' -(Yes --That is the translation--no, not really literally but Italians can get dramatic..)  I laugh as I write this, because to someone who doesn't know or understand the Italian culture you could say, wow Italians take their espresso as serious business.  I confirm that! 

Recently, I received a Philips Saeco Syntia Espresso Machine along with Lavazza coffee beans from the awesome teams at both companies.   I have to be honest with you,  I've never made espresso in a machine like this, espresso was always made in the old school pot called a 'bialetti.' The only time you would see an espresso machine would be if I went to an Italian coffee bar.  

My first time experience with making the espresso in this machine was beyond any appliance experience, the machine is so easy to use, it tells you exactly what to do, what you need and it respects the process of making espresso so much, that you end up respecting the machine.. it sounds silly, but I honestly want to spend a lot of time now really perfecting and make variations on my espresso.  

I was unsure how I was going to make the espresso,  let's be honest, when I make espresso I'm usually in company-- and by company I mean by my loud, overly involved family. So I wanted to wait when I knew I could share my espresso first time experience with my family.  I'm not kidding.   In setting the machine up I had my mother and father in on it too, my mother really loved looking at all the intricate details of the machine and was so impressed with the taste and 'crema' of the espresso. 

The quality and taste of the espresso was beyond my expectations and my family's.  Let's be honest as Italians we are very critical of food and especially the holy espresso. My sister, Maria was so in love with her cup that she asked if she could take my espresso machine home with her.. of which I said no, but she can come over when she wants.  My brother Santo, wanted to try the cappuccino variation and asked me "Marg, what do we need, what kind of milk should we go buy so it comes out perfect?" I mean this Philips Saeco espresso machine turned my family into a competitive bunch of baristas -- of which I have to laugh.. my family is a sit-com in itself.   So, I had to fight everyone off not to take my machine home with them, now they're begging to use it or for example my brother is moving into a new home soon and gently hinted "you know Marg, that would make a nice house-warming gift.."  I told him .."Sure Santo..." --yeah right.. you're not touching my machine." 

So what turned out to be a first time experience using my Philips Saeco Espresso Machine, turned into a night of conversation, family and lottttssss of love.  I love my new machine, the coffee beans from Lavazza were also as my mother says, "speciale"-- the brand Lavazza is something we grew up using our whole lives, so when I told my family I have Lavazza beans to use in the machine, they all immediately nodded with approval, because any Italian knows and uses Lavazza coffee.   Lavazza is also history to me -it's a familiar staple in the Italian family.  Overall, if you're going to invest in a way of etiquette for espresso making the Philips Saeco 'Espresso Perfetto' machine will fulfill your needs and supersede your expectations.  Grazie a Philips Saeco e Lavazza! 

To learn more about the Philips Saeco machine visit:

To learn more about Lavazza:



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