Article written by Michele Sergio and published in L’Espresso Neapolitan of the month of September 2019
“Why is coffee in Naples better?” You often hear this sentence; perhaps pronounced by a friend, relative or even a simple acquaintance of northern Italy. Which answer? There is not one, only one: who says it is water that makes our coffee inimitable, who claims to be the mixture, who, again, is convinced that everything revolves around the figure of the bartender.
We tried, then, to codify at least 10 rules that explain the reason for the success of the cup and coffee according to our personal countdown.
10) Color. The visual impact is fundamental. The coffee must be “a cloak of a monk” as Sophia Loren said in the movie These ghosts of 1967, taken from the homonymous theatrical work of the great Eduardo De Filippo; brown that is, of that brown of the habit of the Franciscan monks.
9) Glass of water. While waiting for coffee, it is mandatory to drink a glass of fresh water. To drink? Rite? Both things, but not only: “cleaning” the mouth is essential before savoring the espresso.
8) Hot cup. The cup is hot, like the freshly extracted coffee. Only in this way does the drink not suffer a thermal shock that could alter its aroma and taste.
7) 25 seconds. This is the time to suck from the machine the black wonder that must come out of it “in the tail” and bitch “(to put it in the manner of the Neapolitan bartenders), liquid trail more and more thinly, from the tap to the cup.
6) Mixture. Our, that of the Neapolitan tradition, is composed of two different types of beans: the Arabica and the Robusta. The Arabica, more sweet and fruity; the strongest and most robust robusta. It is their right balance that makes the Neapolitan one the most appreciated coffee. Without forgetting the roasting that must be darker, more prolonged.
5) Weather. The mild Neapolitan climate favors the right grinding point, the one that the good barman identifies as the most suitable to grind the beans and transform them into powder, neither very fine nor coarse, to obtain, in this way, the Neapolitan espresso.
4) Rite. For the Neapolitans, drinking a coffee is a real ritual, a moment of self-dedication, a pretext to share, a time to chat, exchange confidences, laugh together. Drinking coffee alone “is the height of solitude” as Massimo Troisi said in his second film “Sorry for the delay”.
3) Suspended coffee. It is a gesture of generosity to pay for a coffee other strangers, a minimal example of Neapolitan solidarity, to give a smile to a less fortunate person. Luciano De Crescenzo, the last of the great sons of disappeared Naples, has happily caught the spirit of suspended coffee: “when a Neapolitan is happy for some reason he decides to offer a coffee to a stranger because it is like offering a coffee to the rest of the world “. Sagacia of the inimitable Neapolitan philosopher.
2) Water. That we have no doubts whatsoever: the Neapolitan water, for its excellent and peculiar chemical and physical characteristics, is decisive for the quality and flavor of our coffee
1) Love. Yes, those five letters that identify the strongest feeling that, if it does not inspire the preparation of coffee, even if you want to follow every rule, codified or not, will make it “a ciofeca” as Totò said: at home or at the bar machine. Whoever prepares coffee must “put love” into it. For the magical infusion, the people who drink it, share the cup and … your palate.