- By AbruzzoCibus
- On Feb 08, 2019
Coffee is an important part of Italian culture. The day is defined by coffee rituals, which are set in stone and not always easy for outsiders to understand. Nevertheless, there are a few basic rules to follow to avoid being labelled as a tourist. Here are the Five Commandments of Italian coffee culture!
1. Cappuccino in the afternoon is a no-no
Drink cappuccino, caffé latte, latte macchiato or any milky form of coffee only in the morning, and never after a meal. Italians cringe at the thought of all that hot milk hitting a full stomach!
2. Never say “espresso”
Don’t order coffee using the word “espresso”. This a technical term in Italian, not an everyday one. An espresso is simply known as “un caffè”.
3. Keep it simple
In Italy you won’t find your double-vanilla-mocha-frappuccino at the local caffé bar. A caffé, cappuccino and “caffé macchiato” (coffee with milk) are the most common varieties ordered at the bar. A caffé macchiato or “caffé corretto” (coffee with a shot of grappa or brandy) are also acceptable. Other variations are “caffè lungo” (it is obtained by draining more water than usual) and “marocchino” (an espresso with a “stain” of milk and cocoa).
Remember that you can order un “caffè doppio” (a double espresso) if you like to have more caffeine than a single espresso, but be aware that this is not an Italian habit. Italians drink coffee in small, steady doses.
4. Drink your coffee “al banco”
Coffee is perfect for sipping while standing at the bar, while chatting away with your friends or the barista.
It is common to order and drink coffee first, then pay at the register. If it’s an airport or station bar or a tourist place where the barista screams “ticket” at you, you have to pay before consumest.
5. Some like it hot
You should expect coffee to arrive at a temperature at which it can be downed immediately. If you prefer burning your lips and tongue, you should ask for “un caffè bollente”.
Now you can drink your Italian coffee like a local. Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed when walking into a bar: someone will surely offer to assist, Italians are usually very friendly. So relax, take in the bar’s atmosphere, breathe in the scent of freshly ground coffee and sweet pastries, and enjoy the taste of real Italian coffee!