Italians say “la dolce vita” or “the sweet life.” And when it comes to coffee, they know how to enjoy it. It is an integral part of their culture and an essential part of the Italian way of life.
Coffee is more than just a drink in Italy. It is a ritual that is savored and enjoyed. Italians take their coffee seriously, and there are strict rules about how it should be made and drunk.
Now, how do Italians drink coffee?
In Italy, there are a few different ways to enjoy your coffee. Coffee is generally drunk in the morning at breakfast, as a pick-me-up in the afternoon, or in the evening after a meal. Each coffee has a different purpose, whether an espresso, cappuccino, or macchiato.
We’ll check out the taste, some of the most popular ways to drink coffee in Italy, and even some of the etiquette that goes into making and enjoying an Italian-style coffee.
The Taste of Italian Coffee
When it comes to coffee, Italians know what they’re doing. The country is responsible for some of the best coffee in the world. Italy was solely responsible for introducing coffee to the rest of Europe back in the 17th century.
Different types of Italian coffee beans are grown in different regions of the country. The most popular type of coffee bean is the Arabica bean, which is grown in the southern regions of Italy, such as Sicily. The Arabica bean is known for its sweeter taste and lower acidity.
The Robusta bean is grown in the northern regions of Italy, such as Piedmont. The Robusta bean is known for its higher caffeine content and strong, bold flavor.
There are a few things that make Italian coffee so special.
- Italians only use the highest-quality beans roasted longer than most other countries. This results in a darker roast that has a more robust flavor.
- The water used to make coffee is filtered and soft. This makes for a less bitter coffee.
- The coffee is freshly ground and brewed using a traditional espresso machine. The result is a rich and flavourful coffee that is unlike anything else in the world.
The brewing methods used in Italy are what make the coffee so unique. Italians have perfected the art of not only making espresso but also creating other variations of coffee.
Popular Ways Italians Drink Coffee
Thanks to Italian influence and vocabulary, we now have many of the most popular coffee drinks we know and love today. This has also led to coffee becoming a staple in many cultures worldwide. But how do Italians drink coffee? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways.
The most popular coffee in Italy and around the world is espresso. Espresso is the base for all other types of coffee in Italy. An espresso is drunk first thing in the morning to help wake you up and get you going for the day.
It is a concentrated shot of coffee made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. An espresso should be thick and rich and have a foamy layer on top known as crema.
The most common way to drink coffee is by taking an espresso, “al banco” (at the counter or bar). This means that you will drink your coffee standing up at the bar. This is because most Italians do not have the time to sit down and enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee. The ideal espresso should be drunk in one sip and not too hot.
A cappuccino is a coffee made with espresso and steamed milk, topped with foam. A cappuccino is usually drunk in the morning with breakfast or as a pick-me-up in the afternoon.
The milk used in a cappuccino is important. Italians prefer to use whole milk because it gives the cappuccino a creamier texture.
The foam on top of a cappuccino is also important. The foam should be thick and creamy, not watery or too airy.
Taking espresso and adding steamed milk results in another popular Italian coffee drink, the caffè latte. This is similar to a cappuccino but with more milk and less foam.
A caffè latte is usually drunk in the morning as it is a bit lighter than a cappuccino.
The milk-to-espresso ratio in a caffè latte is about 1:3, meaning there is more milk than espresso. This makes for a less strong and more refreshing coffee.
When ordering a latte in Italy, you will get a glass of milk, as latte means “milk” in Italian. To order a caffè latte, you must ask for “un caffè latte.”
A caffè macchiato is an espresso “marked” with a small amount of milk. This results in a coffee that is not as strong as an espresso but has a bit more flavor.
A caffè macchiato is usually drunk in the afternoon as a pick-me-up.
The milk in a caffè macchiato is enough to take the edge off the espresso and make it more palatable.
American coffee is very different from Italian coffee. Americans tend to like their coffee weak and watery. This tends to make the drink long and drawn out.
In Italy, a caffè Americano is an espresso diluted with hot water. This makes for a coffee similar to American coffee but with more flavor.
A caffè Americano is usually drunk in the afternoon or evening as it is a bit lighter than an espresso.
Now, here comes the fun part: the caffè Corretto. This coffee is “corrected” with a shot of liquor. The most common types of liquor used are grappa, brandy, or whisky, but there are many variations.
A caffè Corretto is usually drunk after a meal as a digestive.
The liquor in a caffè Corretto helps to settle your stomach after a big meal.
It Is More Than Coffee Etiquette
You can tell that Italian coffee is more than just coffee. There is a whole culture and tradition behind it.
Italians take their coffee seriously, and you should follow specific etiquette rules.
Here are some tips to remember when drinking coffee in Italy:
- Drink your coffee standing up at the counter. Do not sit at a table unless you plan to order a meal.
- Do not linger. Italian is to be drunk quickly, not sipped slowly.
- Do not add sugar. Italians do not typically add sugar to their coffee. If you need to sweeten your coffee, ask for a caffè dolce.
- Do not ask for variations. Italians like their coffee a certain way and are not open to change. If you want your coffee a certain way, it is best to go to a coffee shop that caters to foreigners.
As you can see, there are many different ways to drink coffee in Italy. Espresso is the most popular, but cappuccino, caffè latte, and caffè macchiato are also popular.
The coffee you drink depends on the time of day and your preferences. Remember to follow coffee etiquette when drinking coffee in Italy. Italians take their coffee seriously, and you should adhere to specific rules.
Drinking coffee in Italy is a unique experience that you will not find anywhere else in the world.