I absolutely love coffee. I love making it. I love drinking it. That’s why, when I went to Italy for the first time I couldn’t wait to try the coffee. Italy is the birthplace of coffee culture but you have to learn the ropes before being able to confidently walk into an Italian coffee bar and order up a coffee.
Follow these rules and you’ll be golden but first, make sure you leave the Starbucks lingo at home!
No Cappuccino After 12pm
I put this first because it’s probably the most crucial. If you order a cappuccino after noon in Italy, there will be only one word to describe you – TOURIST. For Italians, milk is only consumed for breakfast. If you plan on ordering a milk-based drink in the afternoon, be prepared for some looks.
Do NOT Order an “Espresso”
Walking into a coffee bar in Italy and ordering an espresso is redundant. It’s all they drink. In other words, if you were to order a coffee, you’d be given an espresso. “Caffe,” the Italian word for coffee, means espresso by default.
You Won’t Be Waited On
If you sit down and expect someone to wait on you, you’ll be waiting for a very long time. Walk up to the bar and order whatever you want. Coffee in Italy is meant to be had as a quick dose of caffeine. It’s typically consumed standing up at the bar.
Know Your Terms
Nothing will make you look like more of a tourist than trying to use your daily Starbucks lingo. Simply ordering a “latté” will get you a nice glass of milk since “latté” translates to milk in Italian. Here are some useful terms:
Caffé Dopio – double espresso
Caffé Lungo – espresso with more water
Caffé Ristretto – espresso with less water
Caffé Macchiato – espresso with a dab of frothed milk
Caffé Americano – Same as caffé lungo
Caffé Corretto – espresso with a shot of liquor (Sambuca or brandy)
Caffé con panna – espresso with whipped cream
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