Italy is often referred to as the Coffee Capital of the World. The Italians practically invented the way the rest of the world presents, brews, serves and drinks coffee today. Everything from the language to the espresso machine, which was invented by pioneer Angelo Moriondo in 1884, to the coffee name brands such as Illy, makes Italy the spiritual home of coffee – which then begs the question, does authentic coffee mean Italian coffee?
Coffee plays a vital role in Italian culture which was introduced to Italy around 1570 to Venice via a famous botanist, and after the invention of the espresso machine at the end of the 19th century, Italy was famous for its coffee.
Drinking coffee like an Italian in Italy and home will bring you as close as you can get to the real deal. Primarily because coffee in Italy is nothing like the coffee you drink at home (unless, of course, you are Italian)!
Beginners guide to drinking coffee in Italy like an Italian
- A “bar” is essentially a “cafe”
- There are thousands of “bars” in Italy which you will see on your itinerary. This is not essentially because Italians are big drinkers (of course they are – of coffee)
- Caffè is coffee, in fact, not to confuse this with a café, and in Italy it is espresso and you don’t have to explain yourself when ordering a caffè as it is a given that you will be getting an expresso
- If you don’t want to stand out – drink your coffee standing at the bar and you must pay before ordering (this saves money, too, as sitting down costs more). Always pay first when ordering and keep your slip as this is what you bring to the bar when you are served your coffee
- Drinking and ordering cappuccino after midday is a big no-no – you heard right! To avoid strange stares and funny looks, and if you would like to blend into the local scene
- A latte is nothing like the version you will get at home, either
These are the coffee versions to expect to find in Italy
- Cappuccino is basically an espresso coffee that has been capped by hot, foamy milk and is named after the Capuchin monks due to the colour of their hoods
- Caffè macchiato is espresso that has been “spotted or stained” with hot milk as macchiato means a spotted or stained coffee
- Latte macchiato is a little opposite to coffee-stained with milk – instead, it is milk stained with a little coffee!!
- Caffè lungo is a long coffee with added water and differs from your Americano version as everything happens at the coffee machine
- Caffè Americano is coffee made the American way which simply does not have a place in Italy – if you do order an Americano you will get espresso diluted with hot water (a not pleasing coffee experience)
- The cremina is there for everyone to helps themselves. Perhaps not as hygienic for fussy palates and fussy eaters, but a rather delicious addition to your coffee as it is a foam and sugar combo whipped together
- Coffee normally does not come with sugar added and it is up to you to add any extra sweetness
When it Italy do as the Italians do. Remember you are in one of the most exquisite spots in the world and all you need to do is sit back and relax…and savour the people, the surroundings, and most importantly, the coffee!