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Starbucks in Sicily

September 26, 2020

It has been almost a year since I left my home in Sicily.  My home over there is locked and my car is asleep and silent parked in my garage.  When I left, I had no idea how Covid19 would change the world.  Covid is still with us and, at this time, I do not know when I shall return to Sicily!

It was last November, almost a year ago, just before heading back to Virginia, that  I saw my first Starbucks cold Caffe’ Latte at a supermarket in my hometown in Sicily!

For some time, I had wondered whether I would ever see the Starbucks cup in a business in Italy. There it was – sitting on a shelf at my Sicilian supermarket!!!

The Starbucks cup, with its iconic double tailed mermaid, representing the seafaring tradition of Seattle, the city where Starbucks was founded, has reached an Italian supermarket.  I was quite surprised.

In Italy, coffee arrived from Asia in the 16th century. Italians developed their own brewing practices and coffee traditions. Anyone living in Italy knows certain coffee drinking practices are unique and engrained in the Italian culture.  Many people start their day stopping at their favorite “bar”, enjoying an espresso or cappuccino, a cornetto,  and then heading out to work or whatever they do.

It is in Italy that many cafe’s aka “bars” are family owned; many times bars are passed down from generation to generation and the owners or their employees establish a rapport with their customers that is carried out over time.

Naturally, many bars share familiar logos of  popular coffee brands, but the actual “bar’ itself  has been a place where tradition and customs are unique. Bars have their own personalities.  It is customary to go to one’s favorite bar and visit it regularly.

So when I saw that Starbucks ready to consume coffee at the supermarket I wondered.  How would Starbucks be received in this culture.  What I saw seems to show that Starbucks, so far, has arrived as a commodity for those who want to just have a pre-made portable coffee available at a supermarket.

While new products from abroad  find their place in Italy,  the traditional bars in Italy remain the norm and maintain that unique personality they have enjoyed for scores and scores of years. Lets wish that doesn’t change.

I, too, have my favorite coffee bars when in Sicily.  When I take my morning walks close to my home by the sea, I stop at the kiosk  in the photos below.  It is there that I enjoy my espresso, a friendly conversation with the owners and then off to enjoy the majestic beauty of nature and the coastline while continuing my walk.


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