On Coffee....

In the move to Torino, there are some things that have taken some adjusting to. The coffee isn’t one of them.

Huw Williams | 22:22, Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Within a two minute walk of our apartment, you can find no less than ten coffee shops – honestly, I've counted them. These coffee shops (or 'bars' as they're called here – they not like British bars) will sell you the most amazing-tasting stuff you can imagine, and for much less than half the price of the equivalent cup in the UK.

Cappuccino, caffe latte, machiato, espresso – they're all here, but why not try a caffe marocchino (chocolate spread smothered around the cup before you pour the coffee in) a ristretto (kind of like an espresso on steroids) or if you really want to push the boat out, go for the local delicacy – the bicerin. Like many of the Torinese I'm rapidly coming to regard the bicerin as the mother of all coffees – a layer of espresso is topped with a layer of thick hot chocolate and finished off with a generous layer of whipped cream.

It's true to say that coffee is a way of life here. However, whenever it is drunk, coffee is a central element to the daily life of millions of Italians. We had a whole Italian lesson on it this week – it was important for us to know not just how to order, but to know exactly what each item is. Many will grab a quick coffee on the way to work each morning, quickly downing an espresso as they stand at the counter. For others coffee is an essential social institution. Thoughts are made over coffee, ideas are formed; here in Torino there are at least five bars of great historic significance, where movers and shakers like Cavour met and developed ideas over a cup or two of the black stuff.

It's a wonderful aspect of Italian culture and I love it. It also makes me wonder what else could drive us to work in the morning, what else could shape our thinking and dreaming, what else could fuel our passionate conversations when we meet with friends. What if it was an open Bible? What if it was an awareness of the great love God has for us and for the fallen world around us?

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