Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

I was born in the middle of WWll when the economic conditions weren’t good.

Every family, usually made up of more generations, moved along as best they could, taking advantage of what the could gather from home grown products from the earth.

There wasn’t much money around to spend. In addition, many products like coffee that were usually imported, were kept under control and since Italy was under economic sanctions, goods were costly and people couldn’t afford them.


Thus, an “self-made” system was adopted for coffee. It consisted of toasting chickpeas, barley and wheat. These ingredients were then ground with a coffee grinder.

The black dust was then put in a pot with water, boiled and decanted. The result was called “caffè”! A rhyme was made up relating to the above… “di moka ce n’è poca, porto ricco neanche un chicco…Orzo e ceci!” (there is little mocha, not even a bean….barley and chickpeas!).

I remember the sweetish and pleasant taste of this mix that pervaded my childhood. It became  common usage even after the economic “boom”.

Now we have as much real coffee as we want in addition to a romantic memory.


Roberto Borghi