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.


This article is posted on Gourmantic.com - All rights reserved - Copyright © 2017.

6 Coffee Facts I Learnt in Italy was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

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.


  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 6 Coffee Facts I Learnt in Italy | Gourmantic -- Topsy.com

  2. It’s weird seeing the Italians drinking their coffee in the morning, probably why they serve it luke warm since people are usually in a rush to get to work.

    • Anil: That was my observation. Nobody lingered at the bar. Service was very swift. Beats drinking coffee on the run, as we see people do here and I assume the US.

  3. That’s really interesting that cappuccino is 1/3 coffee, milk, and froth.  For some reason, I always thought that the coffee was a larger ingredient.  Italians do make some serious coffee.

    • Akila: Not so much in a cappuccino. But some espressos I’ve had bring tears to your eyes and make you bounce off the walls. It’s good coffee!

  4. Pingback: Useful Italian Words and Phrases | Gourmantic

Comments are closed