How to drink coffee like an Italian

There is nothing better than a cup of coffee in Italy! It’s important to know what to order and how to enjoy coffee like an Italian.

This is because Italian coffee doesn’t taste like American coffee. Even the names aren’t what you might expect. One traveler from Italy shared a story with us. She was fluent in the Italian lingo of Starbucks coffee so she assumed she was ready to order a “latte” when she arrived in Italy. The server laughed at her joke. “Latte? Caldo o freddo?” (Hot or cold?). She was fluent in Italian and it was her turn to laugh at him: “Caldo, ofcourse!”

After a brief moment, he returned to her and gave her a cup with hot milk.

You don’t want this to happen to you! It’s worth learning a bit about coffee in Italy. These are just a few tips to get you started.

A “bar” is actually a “cafe”.

You would think that all Italians have a problem with drinking based on the number of bars in every Italian city. It is a problem with coffee drinking. This is because a “bar”, in reality, is what we would call “cafe.” (Confusionally, a caffe actually refers to a “coffee “…, but more later).

The majority of Italians have their coffee at the bar.

This tip was taken from our How not to Get Rid Off Eating in Italy post: If you don’t really need to rest your feet, order and drink your coffee at the bar. You can often get half to a third the price for sitting at a table near tourist sites. It’s also where the locals gather!

Usually, the coffee is ordered at the bar and you have to pay for it.

This rule is not enforced by every cafe. As a general rule, it is better to pay first. Don’t throw away the receipt. Take it to the cash register and tell the clerk what you want. This is How to Order a Coffee, Gelato, or Slice of Pizza in Italy. ).

Don’t order a cappuccino after noon…

If you are looking to “fit in” with the Italian culture, this is your chance. You might get a funny look at local cafes, especially if they aren’t used tourists. Cappuccino is a popular drink in Italy after noon. It’s not possible. Some say that the milk and foam make it a substitute for a meal and all the dairy causes digestive problems. It’s rare to see an Italian order a cappuccino as a post-dinner drink.

What is coffee?


A latte from a Starbucks in the United States or Britain is not the same as one made in Italy. (The word “milk” is Italian, so it is possible that Italians will claim that Starbucks’ version is wrong.

Here are some of the most famous phrases for Italian coffee that you should know.

  • Caffe: Literally, this means “coffee,” but in Italy it’s an espresso! It doesn’t matter if you say “espresso” or not. However, if you are a tourist they may ask you to confirm. Two days ago, we witnessed a shocked family react when their “caffe” arrived as espresso and not filtered coffee. Oops!
  • Cappuccino is espresso topped with hot foamed milk. Because of the color of their cappuccini hoods, it is named Cappuccino, or Capuchin monks.
  • Caffe macchiato is a type of “spotted” or “stained coffee. In this instance, the coffee is spotted with hot milk.
  • Latte macchiato: What does this mean? Spotted milk is a mixture of a lot of milk and a little bit of coffee.
  • Caffe americano: American-style coffee is not available in this country. You can order “American coffee” instead. This is an espresso with hot water added.
  • Caffe lungo: A “long” coffee, i.e. With more water. It is different from an americano, because it happens at the espresso machine. The process of pulling the espresso is slowed down to make sure there is twice the amount of water.

Give yourself a helping hand with the cremina

Except for summery, icy drinks like caffe shakerato (coffee “shaken up with ice” and sugar), most coffee does not contain any sugar. You can add sugar to your coffee, which is usually available in either jars and packets. You may also find cremina tubs, which are foam whipped with sugar. You can add some to your coffee if you like (and you aren’t too grossed by the communal tub), and you can also spoon it into your coffee for a sweet kick.

And… enjoy!

It’s like being in Italy and experiencing coffee. This is one of the most authentic and delicious food experiences you will ever have. A caffe at the bar is also very affordable: it costs only 80 euro (or less) per cup. Enjoy, so drink up!

Continue reading: It’s not as Easy as It Seems: How to Order a Coffee, Gelato, and Pizza in Italy

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