Wednesday, February 06, 2008

RIP: Ernesto Illy

Ernesto Illy, the head of Illycaffe, died yesterday. He was 82. I once saw him speak at a conference atLGBT hero Sir Harold Acton's old villa in Florence (now home to NYU). He was, as one might imagine, really really jumpy and spry for an 80 year old man. He was also pretty adorable and had all sorts of graphs and things that convinced me espresso is much better for you than regular coffee. After hearing him speak, I only drank espresso or Americanos. He also was responsible for the endless current of rage that courses through my body whenever I go to a café, order an espresso and watch them leave the water running through the ground coffee for too long, until the deep brown viscous liquid runs pale and watery. He said at his speech that the more water one runs through the beans the more bitter it becomes. But really nothing is worse than seeing a well-pulled shot sitting on a fucking counter for minutes as the crema on top evaporates and you're left with a bitter shot of espresso. Ernesto Illy's resemblance to the old man from the Six Flag commercials also didn't hurt my affection for him.