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Across the Cafe Table: How to Make Real Italian Coffee

Cozy pashminas, sparkly rings, or perhaps a glossy postcard or two?

This month at Across the Cafe Table with the Travel Belles, we’re discussing What’s your favorite shopping find from your travels?

I confess I’m not a big collector when it comes to travel souvenirs. I do have a small, beloved assortment of treasures from various places, but mostly I like to commemorate my adventures with photographs and something I can wear or use.

I love the pashminas I found in Eastern Europe and still swoon at the wondrously gaudy rings I found in Greece and Germany, but my all time favorite shopping find is my dear, battered and much loved red Italian coffee pot.

I’ve been a huge fan of rich, strong Italian coffee since my very first cup. I finally learned how to make it while staying at this Italian country house outside Bologna with my dear friend Maddalena and her family.

I was the early riser of the gang, so Maddalena taught me how to make my own perfect cup of Italian coffee. I would wake while it was still dark, wrap a pashmina around my shoulders and shuffle out to the kitchen. Easing the door closed so my clattering wouldn’t wake anyone, I’d fire up the gas stove and collect everything I needed. Following the steps below, I was soon sitting at the kitchen table with my cold hands wrapped around a steaming cup of Italian coffee.

How to make real Italian coffee:

  1. Fill the bottom of the pot with cool, fresh water, halfway up the little bolt you see on the inside.
  2. Place metal filter inside bottom of pot.
  3. Spoon in real Italian coffee grounds. (In Australia you can buy it here. In America you can buy it here.)
  4. Fill the filter with coffee and make it level.
  5. Screw on top of coffee pot.
  6. Set directly on stove-top burner. (I don’t have a real stove, so I use a hot plate and it works just dandy.)
  7. Coffee pot will make a racket while it is percolating, and you’ll know it’s done when the noise stops.
  8. Remove pot from burner, pour directly into cups and serve.

My friend Maddalena only adds a bit of hot water to her coffee to make it perfect, but she said most of her friends and family add milk to weaken the hearty brew.

My perfect cup is hot coffee, a healthy dose of fresh whole milk and the merest hint of raw sugar.

My little red Italian coffee pot makes me smile every morning, and brings back wonderful memories of sunny mornings in Italy talking for hours with dear friends.

What is YOUR favorite travel shopping find?

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Anonymous - I put maple syrup in mine! It is exactly how we make it … love a warmed up croissant to dip in it! the Italian touch to a fine breakfast!

Andrea and John - Mmmm – wish I wasn’t about to go to sleep right now so I could have one!

Krista - Oh I love the idea of adding maple syrup!! Mmm, and the croissant sounds even better. 🙂 Yum!!

Krista - I hear ya, Andrea! I have to stick to morning coffee drinking or I’m up for hours. 🙂

bellini - For coffee lovers this is the perfect tutorial for our little coffee makers. Like you I seem to collect photos when travellling although I also love jewellry and paintings for the wall. There is plenty of wall space left and I wear my favourite necklace every day to remind me it  is possible to go on 5 week vacations.

Briana Palma - I never drank coffee until I lived in Italy, and the little Moka coffee maker is such an iconic image of the country. Love that yours is stylish and red, Krista!

Joanne - I don’t think I’ve ever seen a REAL Italian coffee pot before! How cute and quaint!  Definitely a great shopping find.

Faith - Such a great post, Krista!  I am well-versed in using my French press (I was thinking of writing a post on it too 🙂 ) but Italian-style coffee is unchartered territory for me so this was incredibly helpful!  I can see why that adorable red coffee pot would make you smile every morning.  🙂

Cathy - I didn’t drink coffee until I lived in Italy Krista, so I completely understand your choice.  Yummy, Italian coffee made in a moka, perfect!

Krista - I love that you have a favorite necklace that is SO inspiring, Val! 🙂 It IS possible to go on 5 week vacations with a little planning, saving, and prioritizing. 🙂 xo

Krista - I love that it’s red too, Briana! 🙂 I looked at so many pots in Bologna, but as soon as I saw this one, I knew it was The One. 🙂

Krista - Isn’t it the best, Joanne? My Italian friends love them so much they can’t stop collecting them. 🙂 Their kitchen is a virtual coffee pot shop! 🙂

Krista - Thank you, Faith! I too was confident in using my French press, but mastering the Italian coffee pot gave me such a thrill. 🙂

Krista - It s so delicious, Cathy. 🙂 All other coffee seems so weak and flavorless in comparison. 🙂

Kate - Lovely take on the idea of your favourite shopping find! I agree, Italian coffee is delicious. Nice that you’ve taken that tradition over to Australia with you 🙂

Anonymous - We’ve got one of those Italian coffee pots as well… really, nothing beats starting off the day with a real Italian brew – great pick Krista, best coffee around!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - It’s been ages since I used one of those percolators! Thanks for reminding me how simple and delicious it is 🙂

Anonymous - Looks delicious!!! xo

Jared and Breanne Mosher - And now I know the proper way to use my little coffee pot. =) Thanks, luv! My brother got it for me for my birthday one year and it’s traveled around with us but I’ve never really known how to use it, just waiting for that elusive trip to Italy. 😉 Thank-you!

Krista - Thank you, Kate! It does make Australia feel more like home, that’s for sure. 🙂

Krista - Oh, that’s great, Tuula! I’m so glad you’re a fan too. 🙂

Krista - You are so welcome, Lorraine! Isn’t it cool how the old things come back to delight us. 🙂

Krista - Thank you, Cailin! It really is. 🙂

Krista - HOORAY! It makes me so happy to know that you’ll be brewing coffee in your little pot now, Breanne. 🙂 You are so very welcome. 🙂

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