It may not seem like it, but Italians love their coffee. It's practically a way of life here in Italy. Sure, cafe society in Paris, France is much more popular, but that doesn't mean that coffee isn't as highly favored here in Italy. In fact, Italians probably have a lot more various types of coffee than the French do. Not to mention they brew theirs in a totally different way as well. And they also have specific ways of enjoying their coffee, be it in a cafe or at home. Here are some ways you can drink coffee like the Italians.
Get Used To An Espresso
“Un caffè per favore
.” You'll probably hear this phrase so early in the morning when you're having breakfast in a cafe in Italy. That's because, for most Italians, a single cup (or even just a shot) of espresso is enough to start the day right. It's the purest form of coffee in Italy, served without sugar, milk, or any other add-ons. For most, it's probably bitter, but most cafes in the country serve it for breakfast. It's quite similar to the way Spanish
, and other people from Mediterranean counties enjoy their coffee early in the morning as well.
Know The Different Types of Coffee
Espresso is only one version of Italian coffee you can have here. As already mentioned, Italians enjoy different types of coffee. They're so many you almost couldn't remember all of them. But when you're here in Italy, you must! You never know, it's possible that a specific type of coffee might just be what you're craving. And because you don't know it, you're unable to order it while you're in a coffee shop. The likes of caffè latte
(coffee with warm milk), caffè corretto
(coffee with a shot of alcohol), and caffè ristretto
(coffee with less water for more caffeine) are terms you should remember!
Don't Order A Cappuccino After Lunch
There's another type of coffee you should also remember: cappuccino. You've probably heard this in your nearby coffee shop as well. What does it mean? A cappuccino is an espresso with foamed milk, frothy concoctions that often taste light and slightly sweet. And while it's a famous drink, Italians have a certain rule about it: you never order it in the afternoon. You'll even rarely see anyone drinking a cappuccino with lunch, let alone during the afternoon. It's an exclusive morning drink through and through. If you make a mistake of ordering it later in the day, expect some glares, stares, and even a few offended Italians too
Pay Before You Drink
The standard practice of ordering your coffee in a cafe in Italy is that you pay as you order. Very rarely—borderline impossible—will you be able to take a sip of your coffee before paying for it. That's just the way it goes. More often than not, you order from the cashier, pay it right then and there, they'll give you a receipt, you wait while they prepare your order, and when they call you, you show your receipt and you get your coffee. Yes, it's exactly how they do it in Starbucks
! It's even highly likely the major coffee franchise got this idea from Italians!
Never Order It 'On The Go'
On that note, never order coffee on-the-go when you're in Italy. You might be able to do it in global coffee franchises like Starbucks, but not in a true-blue Italian cafe. You won't even find a single plastic or paper cup in such places! They mostly only serve their coffee in real cups and mugs that you have to return when you're finished. And if you can't find a table to sit on, there's always the bar which every cafe in Italy has. So you really have no reason not to enjoy your coffee inside the cafe. This then leads to another tip: never order coffee when you're in a rush!
Prepare To Stand While Drinking Coffee
Speaking of bars in cafes, enjoying your coffee on one is a lot cheaper than getting a table. When you go to Rome, for instance, most coffee shops near the most famous tourist spots—as well as some underrated ones too!—have bars. And you'll notice that many locals drink their coffee standing up while most tourists are the ones seated at a table. More often than not, drinking coffee standing up at the bar will cost you half or a third of the price of getting a table. And best believe that in a city as expensive as Rome
, that little difference matters!
When in Rome (or Milan, Venice, Florence, etc!) do as the Italians do when enjoying a hot cup of coffee. You'd be surprised at how specific they are when it comes to coffee! One misstep and you'll be done for here!