My Caffeine Addiction vs. Italian Coffee

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 By Kara Goldfarb > Junior > Writing > Ithaca College

I’m going to preface this article by saying that I used to have a caffeine addiction. I craved the stuff day and night and measured my day based on which number coffee I was on.  I had to slowly wean myself off until I stopped drinking coffee completely, a process that took time.

Of course, in Rome you cannot walk down a single street without seeing the word CAFÉ at least five times. For the first few weeks, I was good about not giving in, but when I discovered the coffee vending machine in my school building, I knew that it was a lost cause. We’re not just talking about a simple black coffee; this machine does it all. Cappuccino, macchiato, espresso–you name it. Aside from drinking the coffee, I couldn’t resist the urge to just watch this machine in action. I put the 40 cents (only 40 cents!) into the slot and anxiously made my selection (cappuccino cioccolato). Then I watched as the little cup came down from a slot (as if from heaven).  The machine made some gurgly noises, and I heard the small beep signifying that my drink was ready. I took one sip and knew that this was it for me: My passion for caffeine was suddenly and irrevocably resurrected, or at least for the rest of my time in Italy. After realizing that the vending machine coffee at my school could be this good, I had to see what else was out there.
I sat jittering and twitching through my next classes. When I was finally done, I set out on my mission. I chose a random street by school and walked down it. I have come to find that you can’t really get lost in Rome. Or rather, you can get lost, but when getting lost entails winding up on a brand new street with brand new cafes and brand new shops, it’s not really a problem. I walked into the first authentic coffee shop I came across and sat down by myself. I ordered a simple "caffè," Followed by a macchiato, a latte and another caffè for good measure. I sat there taking pleasure in the strong flavor, but also in my ability to sit alone in an Italian café, just doing school work and and enjoying my time. I feel myself becoming more independent here–and if that comes with a side of coffee, then it’s just a sweet perk. As for the bad caffeine habit: I plan on exploring and traveling tons more this semester, so at least I’ll have the energy.



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