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The Pope, the Devil, and Coffee... What's Italy Got to do With This?

featured-img-The Pope, the Devil, and Coffee... What's Italy Got to do With This?

Wander through any airport, train station, piazza, or strada in Italy and you’re sure to hear the hissing of an espresso machine and breathe in the warm, jolting scent of coffee. 

Italians drink it all day long in almost countless varieties, concoctions, and time spans. 

With its importance in their culture, of course they have also given us fantastic legends surrounding the drink that bewitched the whole world.

From 1592 to 1605, Pope Clement VIII was head of the Christian world and in many ways, he had the final say in the behaviors that would be accepted or denounced by the Church. 

During those times, trade was growing throughout the world and bringing new and different products that Europeans had never seen before.  Among them was coffee, which arrived in the Italian peninsula through the port of Venice.

So, the legend goes that due to its popularity in the Muslim community, as well as its curious effect, coffee became known as “the devil’s drink” and the Pope’s advisors tried to convince him to denounce it as such. 

Thankfully, the Pope determined that he must try it himself before deciding to curse it forever. 

He had a cup brought to him, and the drink we’ve all come to love awaited its fate. 

“This devil’s drink is delicious!”, he proclaimed!  He decided rather than denouncing it, better to cheat the devil and claim it for Christianity instead!

With the Pope’s blessing, coffee became widely accepted throughout Europe and Christendom. 

Today it is almost impossible to imagine Italy without its coffee. 

As part of your breakfast, sip a cappuccino in the morning.  Because of the heavy milk steamed into the coffee for a cappuccino, it is only consumed as a part of breakfast in the morning in Italy.  Italians cannot fathom why anyone would drink it past 11:00 AM, and even that is quite a stretch. 

For a more acceptable afternoon alternative, try a macchiato, with only a splash of steamed milk.

Want to mingle with the locals?   Stand among them and simply order a “caffè”, (espresso) and cornetto (not to be confused with the French croissant) at the bar of a café.  

On a hot day you might prefer a “Shakerata”, Italy’s delicious take on iced coffee. Sometimes it is blended with vanilla gelato, others just shaken with sugar and ice, and for the more adventurous, it can be mixed with different liqueurs and all shaken together in an energizing cocktail. 

Feeling something stronger? Try “caffè corretto” with a splash of grappa or Sambuca. 

Hungry?  Try a “caffè” flavored gelato for a midday snack.  Or a tiramisù, which we will discuss in a later article!

Italy has a coffee for everyone!  The difficult part?  Finding that same rich but never bitter flavor here at home. 

If you find yourself craving the intense, dark aroma and full, roasted flavor you find in Italy, Mia Emilia’s Caffè EDOR Espresso made in Naples will make your morning!  We recommend enjoying it as the Italians do, in a tiny cup of espresso.  Of course, if a regular drip coffee pot is more your style, it’s great that way too. 

These freshly ground beans produce an irresistible flavor and aroma that will fill your kitchen and transform it, if only for a few moments, into an Italian café.  Now, that’s something worth waking up for! 

So, as you enjoy your first sip of this authentic Italian espresso, remember to thank Pope Clement VIII for blessing the drink that does indeed taste as though it’s straight from Heaven!


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