What could be better than enjoying a coffee… in Italy? An enchanting decor and out of this world flavors are definitely on the menu. But first off, you need to know what to order, and how to drink your coffee like the real Italians do!
To start off, let’s get something clear: Italian coffee isn’t like coffee in the United States or anywhere else. Even the names don’t mean what you might expect. Take a story we heard from a woman traveling to Italy. Since she was familiar with the “Italian” lingo of our American coffee shops, she thought she was all set when she arrived in Italy and, proudly, ordered a “latte”. The server looked at her funny. “Latte? Caldo o freddo?” which means hot or cold. She spoke a little Italian, so it was her turn to look at him funny: “Caldo, of course!” she said. He disappeared for a moment, came back, and handed her a cup of exactly what she’d asked for—hot milk.
A little embarrassing, isn’t it? Fortunately, Moca Loca is here to teach you a little bit about Italian traditions and the best specialty coffees to order!
For starters, in Italy, a ” bar ” is really a coffee shop. The number of places labeled with the word “bar” would make you think that all Italians have a drinking problem. Also, you need to be aware that most Italians drink their coffee standing at the bar and always in the morning. Conversely, the Italians never drink in the afternoon, only because they do not want to damage their digestion.
Furthermore, for faster and cheaper service, I suggest you drink your coffee like the Italians do : at the bar! Unless you need to rest your feet, do as the locals and order your coffee at the bar. It will cost you half or a third of the price of sitting at a table.
Recognized as the European country that’s most specialized in coffee, Italy is full of different coffee beverages. Here are the most popular:
In Italy, the word “caffè” naturally means an espresso. So if you want to order an espresso, no need to specify it. Simply say “caffè” and you will be served an espresso in a porcelain cup called “tazzina” with a saucer and a stirring spoon.
The “Cappuccino” is probably the most known and loved coffee across Europe. It’s an espresso, with hot steamed milk and foam served in a large porcelain cup.
Order a latte in Italy and you might be surprised with a large glass of milk. What we call in Canada a latte is “a caffè latte ‘in Italy. It consists of a third of espresso, two third of steamed milk and a little foam. Because of its large quantity of milk, this type of coffee is enjoyed only before 11 am, like a cappuccino.
In Italian, “macchiato” means spot, because of the small spot of milk found in this drink. This beverage is composed of an espresso in a demitasse, stained with frothed warm milk. Not to be confused with a minicappuccino.
In some regions of Italy, it is also called “Espressino” or “Mocacchino”. This is a shot of espresso with frothed milk served in a demitasse of glass for aesthetic reasons. This cafe is also accompanied by a pinch of cocoa powder added before or after the milk, sometimes both!
The “Shakerato” is no doubt the Italian version of American iced coffee. There is nothing as tasty as a “Shakerato” during a hot summer day, but only before 11 am, of course. This beverage is an espresso with sugar, all shaken with ice to give delicious coffee foam.
The “caffè americano” is also called “acqua sporca” by the Italians, which means “dirty water”. The “caffè americano” or “American coffee”, is lower in caffeine than an espresso, but has a stronger taste than regular coffee. This drink consists of an espresso with hot water added but only after the brewing of the espresso. Moreover, it is served in a large cup or glass.
Caffè alla nocciola
In Naples, you can enjoy a “caffè alla nocciola” or “coffee with hazelnut.” This coffee is simply an espresso with hazelnut cream. In some cases, they even add chocolate sauce or whipped cream.
Caffè con panna
“Caffè con panna” means in Italian “espresso with cream.” This coffee contains a single or double espresso, which is topped with whipped cream. In other places, it is also called Viennese coffee.