Europe Food Italy

6 Coffee Facts I Learnt in Italy

un caffeDuring a recent twenty day sojourn in Italy, I had the opportunity to sample a lot of coffee. Whether it was sipped along the Mediterranean coast of Sicily, in the charming towns of the Veneto, in the bustling hub of Milan or the sparkling shores of Lake Como, every cup provided an opportunity to observe the intricacies and customs of the aromatic brew.

1. Most Italians drink their caffè at a bar (not the alcoholic kind), standing up, usually before 9 am. Prices increase if you sit down at a table.

2. In Italy, when you order un caffè at a bar or a restaurant, it automatically means an espresso.

3. Italians don’t serve their coffee hot. If you can’t drink your espresso or cappuccino lukewarm, you need to specify un caffè caldissimo or molto caldo or even bollente (boiling).

4. If you simply order a latte as is the custom in Australia, you’ll be served plain milk since it is the word for milk. If you’re after the steamed milk coffee, you need to ask for un caffè latte.

5. Cappuccinos are essentially 1/3 coffee, 1/3 hot milk and 1/3 milk froth. Surprisingly, none came with chocolate sprinkled on top.

6. Un caffè lungo or un caffè americano is either brewed coffee or an espresso diluted with hot water, the kind of weak dark beverage catering mainly to tourists and offered at hotel breakfasts.

When in Italy, whether it is at breakfast, lunch or dinner why not order un caffè and make like an Italian. Hold the espresso cup by the handle, give it a gentle twirl and drink it to the last drop.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.