Yesterday Public Radio International’s (PRI) The World aired a broadcast on the Italian espresso: Espresso | PRI’s The World. While every news outlet in America was regurgitating Starbucks‘ publicity over their token three-hour store closure for employee training, reporter David Leveille took a different approach by interviewing the art of the espresso from a distinctly Italian perspective.

(David Leveille tried to contact me for an interview for this story yesterday morning — he was particularly interested because this blog regularly cites the Gambero Rosso Bar d’Italia. But alas, that day job thing kept me from getting back to him in time for his deadline.)

The radio story gets a few details wrong — for example, a proper espresso is produced with near-boiling water, not steam as reported in the story. But the story outlines how Italian baristas “perfect their craft over the period of years, not hours”. It even includes an interview with the head barista at Sant’Eustachio il caffè, who is as comically arrogant and opaque about their methods and materials as you’d expect from this beloved café. (There’s something about Europeans and the ceremony of the safely guarded culinary secret, such as the Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon.)

Starbucks baristas undergo reprogramming at 2nd & Market Sts. on Feb 26 Tough times for Starbucks customers: at 5th and Market Sts.