Sometimes it’s quite revealing to see America through foreign eyes. Case and point with a post today on an Italian blog that covers the subject of tourism in the good ol’ U.S. of A.: Guida USA – Info, foto e video. – » L’espresso “solo” da Starbucks. It gave me a chance to put my years of Italian to the test…

In Italian (quotes used here for literal translation emphasis), the blogger notes:

Starbucks has become pervasive in European life — particularly in the past year. And if you are a consumer of the true Italian espresso “made the way God commanded,” you could visit the ubiquitous Starbucks. Typical bars and restaurants are risky at best in this regard. But if you do go to a Starbucks, be sure to order a “solo” — otherwise you will be handed a large, diluted American coffee. Because the rest of Starbucks’ menu consists of “milkshakes, for which the Americans go crazy” — so just order the “solo”.

Hence the title of the article: a play on words where a “solo” is the “only” thing worth ordering at a Starbucks. It goes on to note:

As for the cost, it’s a bit more than average — even with the exchange rate. But abstinence isn’t a bad option either if you’re going to be here a while.

Given the typical espresso quality standards involved between the two countries, abstinence is clearly the best policy.