Coffee Culture in Italy: 21 Types of Drinks and How to Order Like a Local

Coffee Culture in Italy: 21 Types of Drinks and How to Order Like a Local

The tradition of drinking coffee in Italy dates back to the early 1600s, when coffee beans were initially brought to the country from other European countries. It’s practically on par with the cuisine in terms of its significance to the culture.

Since that time, Italians have developed considerable expertise in both the manufacturing and consumption of coffee. Due to the wide variety of coffees available in Italy (interesting fact: this article alone lists over 21 different varieties of Italian coffee beverages!), the country is renowned for its coffee. How is it possible that this regular practice is not perfect?

Coffee is a popular beverage among Italians, and it is often consumed during breaks in the workday. When it’s time for a break in the middle of the day, you’ll likely hear the well-known Italian phrase “Ci prendiamo un caffè?” This is a signal indicating it’s time to take a break for some espresso or coffee.

The consumption of coffee is an activity that almost always takes place in the presence of other people, be they friends, relatives, or even simply kind strangers. It’s a gathering of a lot of people.

There is a great deal to learn about the culture of coffee drinking in Italy, including when it is appropriate to drink coffee, what to get, and most importantly, how to order coffee in Italy. And you can count on us to assist you. This book will be of great use to you if you are searching for a concise overview of coffee in Italy.


When exactly do Italians drink coffee, and how often does it happen in Italy?

Because Italians consume coffee multiple times throughout the day, often with Italian morning pastries or occasionally with an Italian breakfast sandwich, almost every block in the city will have an Italian coffee bar. This is because Italians drink coffee numerous times throughout the day. To begin, there is the cup of coffee that is consumed with breakfast each morning. This is a sort of coffee that generally contains more milk, such as a Cappuccino, a Latte Macchiato, or a Caffè Latte.

After around 11 in the morning, Italians do not consume any coffee beverages prepared with milk, including lattes and cappuccinos. It turns out that they have discovered the scientific rationale for pairing milk-based beverages with their main courses. When consumed with a meal that is heartier than a normal Italian breakfast, has been shown to impede digestion and at times produce a small amount of gastrointestinal discomfort. [Citation needed]

The afternoon cup of pleasure is an excellent example of Italian coffee and is the kind of beverage that works well as a pick-me-up in the middle of the workday. It is essential to take into account the fact that the vast majority of Italians do not drink anything stronger than a caffè (also known as an espresso). If you feel like you need even more of a caffeine boost, all you have to do is pay another visit to the coffee shop where you get your favourite drink made.

After the course of dessert, Italians also prefer to have a cup of coffee, which is surely not the least important part of the meal. This is a wonderful way to relax and take some time to appreciate the wonderful day, dinner, and company that you have had. Do not, as is customary in the United States, anticipate that your coffee will be served either before or with your dessert while eating out. In traditional Italian coffee culture, coffee is not served until after the course of dessert.

Where Do Italians Drink Coffee?

However, the consumption of coffee in Italy is associated with much more than simply the time of day alone. There’s also the setting to consider. It is recommended that you go to an Italian coffee shop, which is more comparable to a local bar, in order to enjoy the very finest cup of coffee while in Italy. After that, while you take sips of your preferred coffee beverage, you may just relax at the counter and engage in lively conversation with the other customers.

You may choose to have your Italian coffee at the bar, which is the more common choice; but, if you want to remain for a long, you also have the option of consuming your coffee at a little table.

Having said that, this is quite an uncommon practice, and it is almost always restricted to locations that are heavily visited by tourists.

The Moka Pot

Did you know that almost all homes in Italy have a Moka pot? 90 percent of them do. Consider a percolator while thinking about the Moka pot, which is a stove-top coffee maker. It was first introduced on the market in 1933, and by that time it had become standard in every single Italian household.

This coffee maker basically works by applying pressure to the bottom chamber of the pot, which contains boiling water. This pressure is then used to pump hot water through the coffee grinds and into the top chamber. Even though it doesn’t extract nearly as much flavor as an espresso machine would, it makes an excellent cup of espresso.

This exceptional coffee machine has garnered quite a few one-of-a-kind accolades, as if its widespread use in Italian households weren’t enough to demonstrate its significance to the country’s cultural heritage. The Moka pot is the most popular coffee maker in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, which is quite an accomplishment considering the vast selection of coffee makers that can be purchased in stores and online at the present time.

Because of all of these factors, a certain kind of coffee machine has made its way into some of the most well-known museums in the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Simply said, Moka pots produce excellent coffee, and they also make wonderful presents from Italy.

Lavazza and Italy are two of our favorite brands of Italian coffee that you should try brewing in your pot.

The Cuccumela

My grandparents would be pleased to hear that I couldn’t write an essay on Italian coffee without mentioning the Curcuma, which is something that every person who enjoys coffee in Naples is familiar with. The trouble is, and I hate to be the one to let them down, I had no idea that it was called a cuccumela.

I was aware of the pot since it was kept in their pantry, and I always referred to it as the drip coffee pot. However, it is a custom in Naples, and the resulting coffee is of the highest quality. In addition to that, the pot itself is really nice, and you can still get it for sale on Amazon:

This man on YouTube demonstrates how to create the ideal Cuccumela; his Italian Nonna would be pleased with what he has accomplished. I would give everything to be able to use the coffee pot that belonged to my grandparents.


1. Caffè

In Italy, espresso coffee is referred to as a “caffè,” but the term “espresso” is more often used in almost every other country around the globe. This classic espresso drink from Italy is a coffee standby that can be savored at any time of the day.

2. Caffè Doppio (Double Espresso)

If you want a bit extra coffee in your cup, you may order a Caffè Doppio, which is basically a double shot of espresso that will really get your blood pumping and wake you up.

3. Cappuccino

Produced with equal parts Italian espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam, the cappuccino is undoubtedly the most popular type of coffee drink in Italy that incorporates milk. It is made by combining equal amounts of steamed milk, Italian espresso, and milk foam. Because cappuccinos include a fair amount of milk, Italians limit their consumption of this specific kind of coffee to the early hours. In point of fact, if there’s one thing that will make Italians immediately recognize you as a tourist, it’s going to be the fact that you ordered a cappuccino after midday (or close to it)!

Cappuccino may be produced in a few different ways in Italy, such as the Cappuccino Chiaro, which has more scalded milk and less foam; the Cappuccino Secco, which is made with just frothed milk; and the Cappuccino Scuro, which contains less milk and more coffee than the other varieties. You are free to adjust the quantities of coffee and milk to your taste by either adding more or using less of each. There is also a beverage known as Cappuccino Freddo, which is a kind of iced cappuccino that is often served exclusively during the warmer months.

4.Caffè Macchiato

In Italy, they serve two distinct varieties of macchiato, so you’ll need to be specific about which one you want when placing your order. If you want something powerful, go for a café macchiato instead of a regular coffee. This beverage is essentially just espresso with a dash of heated milk added to it.

5. Caffè Con Panna (Espresso With Whipped Cream)

Caffè con Panna is one of the greatest coffee beverages in Italy for those who have a sweet taste since it is served with a generous helping of whipped cream that has been created from scratch.

It is a popular choice among consumers of coffee since it is prepared with a single shot of espresso. It’s a delightful Italian coffee drink that has something to do with the way the thick whipped cream combines with the powerful espresso, but whatever it is, it’s delicious.

A helpful hint is that it is never regarded as impolite and is entirely acceptable to inquire whether the whipped cream is fresh in the event that this is the kind of topping you would like. What’s that? Don’t even ask.

6. Latte Macchiato

A latte macchiato is the other kind of macchiato that may be ordered in Italy. This is basically the complete antithesis of a caffè macchiato in every respect. A latte macchiato is not the same as an espresso with a splash of warmed milk; rather, it is made by adding a splash of espresso to warmed milk.

The only coffee drink that contains milk that you can order after 11 o’clock in the morning without anybody giving you a strange look is a macchiato.

7. Caffè Latte

The Italians and foreigners alike like this coffee drink made with milk since it is the ideal way to start the day.

However, you should avoid ordering a regular “latte” when in Italy since the word “latte” refers to milk. If you do so, you can find that instead of the lovely coffee drink that you were expecting to enjoy, you wind up with a glass of milk.

You should get a caffè latte instead of anything else.

It is essential that you keep in mind that an Italian caffè latte will most likely be shorter in height and width than the latte that you are used to receiving in the United States.

8. Caffè Ristretto

A caffè ristretto is essentially an even more concentrated form of a regular caffè. It’s brewed using the same quantity of beans as a single shot of Italian espresso, but with just half as much water as the traditional preparation calls for. Because you literally just need one sip of this drink to get a rapid boost, it is ideal for situations in which you are pressed for time but still want to get a boost.

9. Caffè Shakerato

Attention all those who like their coffee cooled! This is the traditional coffee beverage served in Italy. The Italian drink known as caffè shakerato, which literally translates to “shaken coffee,” tastes precisely the same as its name suggests. The skilled baristas fetch some espresso and put it in a cocktail shaker with some ice. They then shake it. The caffé shakerato is presented to the customer in a glass like a martini, which contributes to the overall impression that the beverage is a cocktail.

The traditional way for Italians to have caffè shakerato is either as is, with a touch of sugar, or even with a dash of Amaro Averna, which is a black bitter liqueur.

The fact that the caffè shakerato can often only be ordered during the summer months is the shakerato’s sole real drawback. If you happen to find yourself in Italy during the warm summer months, you should not pass up the opportunity to have a caffè shakerato while you are there.

10. Caffè Ginseng

If you like both coffee and tea, caffè ginseng may be the ideal kind of Italian coffee for you to drink. If this describes you, read on. Espresso from Italy is the base for caffè ginseng, which also contains ginseng root extract. It has a peculiar nutty taste that you will either like or find offensive.

11. Caffè D’Orzo

One of the most distinctive kinds of coffee that can be found in Italy is called Caffè d’Orzo. In point of fact, there is no coffee included in the deal at all. Instead of coffee, this beverage is created from barley, which in Italy is often used as a replacement for coffee. In Italy, children of all ages often consume this beverage.

12. Marocchino

A marocchino is a kind of coffee drink that is similar to a dessert coffee drink. It is enhanced to a whole new level of deliciousness when topped with a layer of froth, a shot of espresso, and a few dashes of cocoa powder. And this drink looks just as amazing as it tastes! A typical presentation for a marocchino consists of just placing the beverage in a glass and dusting the top with cocoa powder.

There are quite a few different iterations of this Italian chocolate coffee drink called a Marocchino since so many Italians like drinking it. Cinnamon, hot chocolate powder and even Nutella have been known to make appearances in various iterations of the marocchino.

13. Caffè Lungo (Long Espresso)

In Italy, one of the less common kinds of coffee is called Caffè Lungo. It is comparable to Caffè Americano, but it has a more robust flavor.

Espresso and hot water are combined to make a Caffè lungo, just as they do for an Americano. In contrast, a Caffè Lungo makes use of the same water that has already been filtered through the coffee grounds, while an Americano finishes with a dash of hot water added at the end. It’s a little adjustment, but it makes a big difference

14. Caffè Americano

Simply said, a Caffè Americano is an espresso that has had a little amount of water added to it after it has been brewed in order to make it less potent. It is not a standard cup of brewed coffee prepared in the American way, despite what many people in the United States may believe

15. Caffè Corretto

In Italy, any kind of coffee to which a shot of liquor is added is referred to as caffè corretto, which literally translates to “corrected coffee.” Grappa, brandy, rum, or even anisette are all acceptable options here.


16. Caffè Anisette (Le Marche)

It is said that the Le Marche area of Italy is the place where the coffee drink known as Caffè Anisette first appeared. The drink is made using espresso. Because it contains an anisette, a liqueur with an anise taste, this traditional Italian coffee drink is considered to be an example of Caffè Corretto.

17. Caffè D’un Parrinu (Sicily)

Caffè dun Parrino is a very unique and delicious specialty coffee. Only in the southern region of Sicily can you find a beverage that is similar to cappuccino and that has chocolate, cinnamon, and clove as its prominent tastes.

18. Bicerin (Piedmont)

Although it may seem like medicine, bicerin is really the traditional hot drink that is local to Turin, which is known as one of the most renowned chocolate towns in Italy. Espresso, Italian drinking chocolate, and milk are the three components that go into making this one-of-a-kind coffee drink, which is then stacked and presented in a tiny glass.

19. Patavina (Veneto)

The city of Padua in the Veneto region is credited with being the birthplace of patina in the 19th century. For a while, it was something that intellectuals and politicians were the only people who really appreciated.

The first time you take a sip of Patavina coffee, you’ll be taken aback by the jolt of refreshing mint taste that hits your palate. Although there are also hints of chocolate, cream, and espresso, the mint syrup is what distinguishes Patavina from the several other coffee beverages that are available in Italy.

20. Moretta Di Fano (Le Marche)

In contrast to the majority of coffee beverages, Moretta di Fano does not necessarily provide you with a surge of energy. Why do you ask? Well, since Moretta di Fano is a sort of Caffè Corretto. In addition to the espresso, a few dashes of anise liqueur, brandy or cognac, and rum are added to a Moretta di Fano.

After dinner, many people like to sip on a drink called Moretta di Fano, which has the flavor of lemon peel and is sweetened with sugar. The drink is often presented in a tiny glass so that the layers of coffee and alcohol may be clearly seen by the consumer.

21. Caffe ‘Allo Zabione (Bologna)

Espresso and zabaglione are the two components that go into making this one-of-a-kind regional coffee drink that has been loved by foodies in Bologna for generations. We had our first taste of it while on a cuisine tour in Bologna, and after that, we returned there on many occasions for more tastings.

The same indulgent sweet zabaglione wine custard that is more often served as a dessert. A genuine one-of-a-kind Italian coffee drink is created when the coffee is combined with sugar, egg, and a touch of wine, all of which contribute to the sweetness.

22. Granita Di Caffè (Sicily)

You’ll discover another interesting regional variant of coffee on the island of Sicily, which you may sample if you go there. Granita di caffè is a kind of iced coffee drink that is popular in Sicily during the warm summer months. It is an excellent method to beat the heat on those scorching days. Granita is a dish that is semi-frozen and resembles sorbet but has a smoother consistency.

Granita di Caffè is a kind of coffee slushie that is basically prepared by combining granita, espresso, a little amount of simple syrup, and topping it with whipped cream. You could come across it presented in the form of a parfait with layers of whipped cream. It is just amazing in every way!

The majority of Sicilians like to nibble on brioche col Tuppo, which is among the most popular bread in Sicily, along with a glass of granita di caffè.


The Proper Way to Place Your Coffee Order in Italy

If you simply need to know the essentials, placing an order for coffee in Italy might be rather simple. Simply requesting “One coffee, please” is the quickest and most straightforward method to place a coffee order in Italy. This phrase translates to “a coffee, please,” and when you say it, you will be given a delicious cup of espresso, also known as caffè.

It is not a problem at all if you decide that you would rather consume one of the other coffee beverages described in the preceding section of this article. You just replace the term “caffè” with the name of the beverage of your choosing. For instance, if you want a cappuccino rather than an espresso, you may say, “Un cappuccino, please,” instead of asking for an espresso.

Additionally, if you would want to alter the number of coffees, it is not a problem at all either. You may ask for “due caffè, please,” which translates to “two coffees,” if you would like two coffees rather than one. There is no modification made to the term “caffè” regardless of the quantity that is being requested.

How To Pay For Coffee In Italy

When it comes to paying, the procedure for purchasing coffee might seem a bit strange. The sequence in which you place your order for your coffee, pay for it and then consume it is flipped around a little. In Italy, you will place your order for coffee, then pay for it once you have finished drinking it.

The majority of coffee shops will provide you with a sheet of paper with your purchase, on which is written a condensed version of your order. You are going to want to hang on to this piece of paper until you have paid for your beverage. There are still some coffee shops out there that use an honor system, which means that there are no paper chits involved in the transaction.

Instead, after you have finished your coffee, you will just inform the barista what you drank and pay for it once you have done so.

How To Drink Coffee In Italy — Etiquette And Tips

When it comes to drinking coffee in Italy, there are a few traditions and customs that are important to keep in mind. When in Rome, as the saying goes, and all that… When it comes to the local culture, we always want to adhere to the unwritten local norms, and you may want to do the same unless you don’t mind being that tourist. If you do mind being that tourist, then you should keep to the unwritten local standards.

One of the most common misunderstandings about ordering coffee in Italy is that Italians do not normally consume their coffee while seated at a table. In reality, this is not the case. Instead, you’ll find them standing at the coffee bar and chit-chatting with the people in the vicinity. Check out what’s going on in your immediate environment and model your behavior after what you see; this will help you blend in like a true native.


The following is a list of some final etiquette and suggestions that you should follow about Italian coffee etiquette, including how, what, and when to place an order for coffee in Italy:

  • Bars are the typical establishments in Italy where one may make an order for coffee. These are not bars serving alcohol like those seen in the United States; rather, they are coffee shops, sometimes known as cafè bars.
  • Coffee is not often consumed “al passage” or on the move; rather, it is sipped in the bar. If you ask for a carry-out, you shouldn’t be startled if the person serving you gives you an empty face. The majority of Italians will stay at a coffee shop for a few minutes to sip their coffee or coffee drink at the counter before leaving.
  • Keep in mind that you must first pay for your coffee before placing your order at the counter.
  • In Italy, there is no such thing as a larger size of coffee, definitely not a supersize. This is not a McDonald’s restaurant. Every beverage calls for a certain sort of cup or glass to be used.
  • There are often two pricing at cafes and coffee shops: the al banco price, which is charged at the counter, and the al tavolo price, which is charged at a table. When food is served at the table, in addition to being served at the bar, a particular degree of service is implied.
  • In Italy, it is customary to have a glass of water beside your coffee; this is done so that your palate may be refreshed. It’s a nice change of pace, and it’s the norm around here. It is customary, to begin with, water, then move on to coffee, and conclude with water (although this step is optional).
  • When ordering your Caffè Latte, be sure you utilize both of those terms. The word “latte,” which often refers to a glass of milk, is completely foreign to the Italian language and culture.

The social ambiance of an Italian coffee shop is an integral part of the experience of appreciating the coffee culture of Italy, and this aspect of the experience should not be missed. Try not to be so timid. The Italians like chitchat very much. Stay, enjoy a leisurely sip of your coffee beverage, and strike up a conversation with other people who share your passion for coffee.

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