I used to head directly to the espresso when I was younger. So you might say that I was on the express to the espresso. A double shot, please. I was so much a regular consumer that my favorite coffeehouse in Greenwich Village didn’t bother taking my order; they just put the energizing drink down before me.
That was New York, but if I was on the road, I’d better find an Italian, Turkish, Greek, or Spanish neighborhood to get my fix because otherwise, I’d be drinking American percolated.
In 1965, I was not likely to find anything more exotic than Maxwell House in Portland, Maine. I could find good strong coffee at Becky’s down at the waterfront. But it wasn’t the same. Mention espresso to the seamen and fishers, and they were thinking about exotic places with tassels on the curtains and someone playing the Oud. Lots of the oldtimers had seen more foreign ports than I could name. But right now, we were in rather non-exotic coastal Maine.
My father resolved the problem by sending me a supply of beans and a tiny stovetop espresso coffeemaker. The beans didn’t last long because all my friends just had to come over for a caffeine high. I got tired of the whole thing because making a dozen cups of espresso in a single cup maker is a real pain.
I’m down to strong brewed Sumatra or French roast with lots of boiled milk these days. But just thinking about it takes me back to Rienzi’s Coffeehouse with those two monumental brass and bronze espresso machines.