How to Order an Italian Coffee in Italy is now a book on Amazon Kindle with dozens of full-color photos and an Italian pronunciation guide! Buy your copy now!
There are so many different types of Italian coffee, and by now we know them all, right? Latte, mocha, Frappuccino…
You won’t find a single drink by those names here in Italy.
Ordering coffee in an Italian bar is quite a different story, and I often give my guests a little primer on coffee in Italy (much like How to Avoid a Pickpocket I wrote Monday). Torani syrups to “personalize your coffee experience” and nonfat whipped cream don’t exist in Il Bel Paese. Instead, there are a series of coffee variations you can count on finding in almost any bar in Italy. Italy doesn’t have Starbucks and in my opinion, it doesn’t need it. The next time you say “Venti” remember you’re ordering 20oz. of a coffee drink. And that’s only the medium.
Jeff Israely, the Rome correspondent for Time touches on the mystery of un caffè in Italy in his article Black Magic – he even says….
…the consumption of espresso at the local bar is a rare example of standard fare, identical throughout the country: a brief but intense pausa from life’s travails that is a national bond…
The fact is that there is relative consistency in the quality as well as the coffee drink names across Italy. You won’t have to worry about mixing your ice blends with your Frappucinos as you go from bar to bar and town to town. Maybe you won’t be able to learn how to make the perfect Illy espresso (part 2) like David, but at least you’ll know how to order it!
Popular Italian Coffee Drinks
Caffè - In Italy the word “caffè’” naturally implies an espresso. There is no need to specify “espresso” when ordering. It will be served in a porcelain demitasse cup “tazzina” with its own saucer and little stirring spoon. Pronunciation tip: Cahf-FEH’
Caffè Macchiato – In Italian, macchiare means to “stain” – and this espresso in a demitasse cup is stained with some hot milk, probably frothed, though no attention is placed on serving foam. This is not a mini-cappuccino.
Cappuccino – Probably the most well-known and loved coffee drink, it has a long history. Espresso and steamed, frothy milk added so that there is a clean layer of milk foam in a larger cup, a tazza.
Marocchino – In some areas of Italy, also called an Espressino or Mocacchino, this is my drink of choice and was what ultimately led me to be addicted to coffee 9 short months ago. It is a shot of espresso served in a glass demitasse (for aesthetic reasons), with a sprinkling of cacao (added either before or after the milk, sometimes both!) and milk foam spooned on top.
Want more about Italian coffee? I continue to share in my book How to Order an Italian Coffee in Italy – with dozens of full-color photos and explanations on your favorite caffeine obsession.
Here’s what you’ll find inside How to Order an Italian Coffee in Italy:
- Popular Italian Coffee Drinks — the above list is just a taste!
- Popular Variations on Caffè Espresso — doppio, ristretto, lungo – your coffee, your way.
- Special Coffee Drinks — you should try these, only in Italy.
- Sweetening Your Coffee — it’s not only white sugar!
- Non-Coffee Drinks — if coffee isn’t your thing, there’s still something for you in any Italian bar.
- Ordering Coffee in an Italian bar — order and act like a local.
- What to eat with your coffee: Italian breakfast — what to expect and eat with your Italian coffee.
- A note on Drinking Coffee at Home like an Italian — an Italian coffee at home, even if you’re not in Italy.
How to Order an Italian Coffee in Italy is now a book on Amazon Kindle with dozens of photos and an Italian pronunciation guide! Buy your copy now!