I can’t believe it’s been so many months since I took my last trip. The time flies so quickly that it took me a while to tell you this story, but, you know, I hope it’ll be worth waiting for.
Do you love coffee? A simple question that would later determine if the Italian port city of Trieste will only be another holiday destination for you or a dreamy place you’ll want to visit again as soon as possible. The thing is, Trieste, a beautiful historical port by the Adriatic Sea, on the border of Slovenia and Italy, is all about coffee. It has been for centuries, in fact. And it’s here that I fell in love with espresso as well.
As you might know if you read my blog regularly, I write for a website dedicated to all coffee lovers called Kavickari.sk. The ironic thing is that I’ve never been a big coffee drinker myself, although coffee has always been the first thing I smelled when I woke up at my parent’s. Somehow I just didn’t learn to appreciate the taste, I suppose. This all changed when I learned that I would be going for a work trip to Trieste, to see where the great European espresso comes from. I love trips like this, where I get to see the whole picture and get to the bottom of things, so Trieste sounded very exciting to me.
When Simon, our tour guide and the biggest coffee enthusiast I know, Ondro, my photographer and I came out of the green hills on the Slovenian/Italian border, we were greeted by an incredible sight. Trieste lies happily by the deep blue sea, minding its own (significant) business, while the whole world just flies by. We were taken trough the old, fun, narrow streets to the historical city center, where the number of the coffee bars and cafes is matched by the number of colourful Vespa scooters. Every time I find myself in a city like this, I realise why car factories need to make so many tiny cars and who actually buys them – you could never drive (and especially park) an SUV down here. After our first welcome espresso at a typical Italian bar on the corner (game automats, a couple stools, no design at all, but a PERFECT coffee) Simon took us to see his friends at the Bazarra HQ. Bazzara is a family coffee brand, one of the many roasting and exporting coffee from the port of Trieste. And one of the most stylish, judging by their offices and owners.
It took me 26 years and a professional coffee tasting done by a charming Italian to fall in love with espresso. But when the handsome Mauro explains how robusta is different from arabica and how the different tastes and smells can compliment each other, what can you do? We tasted about 10-15 different types of espresso, learned how to prepare it on a big coffee machine and most importantly, how to savour it. Because, according to people of Bazzara, espresso is the work of art. Oh, and you can find the meaning of life in a cup of coffee, too.
Mauro Bazzara and The Blond Zebras “coffee academy”
You can smell coffee everywhere you go in Trieste. The city was adorned by intellectuals, students and artist from all over the world in the past and when I walked the artistic streets, I think I really understood why. Trieste is the perfect place to just sit and enjoy the life. Think about the universe, study people and let your imagination run wild, while sitting in an open-air cafe at a big square, looking at the waves of the Adriatic Sea, the boats coming to the port and people passing by. Being in the moment. Even though I was working the whole time, that’s the vibe I got from Trieste wherever I went. In such a beautiful place, you can’t do anything but enjoy your “dolce vita” with a cup of hot espresso, a big sweet gelato and an amazing pizza afterwards.
Text: The Blond Zebras
Photo: Ondrej Bobek for kavickari.sk