AN ITALIAN COFFEE CULTURE GUIDE
Food and drinks are a milestone of Italy and even though times and life are changing, few Italians would sacrifice their love for food and their one-hour daily lunch, for a quick sandwich eaten in front of their p.c. But, even if they would decide to do it, we are pretty sure, few of them would give up their coffee break.
Coffee is indeed part of the Italian lifestyle since several years and it has now become a distinctive cultural trait.
During the XV century coffee become a popular beverage in the world, but it was in Venice that opened the first coffee house. Always in Italy the espresso machine was invented (in Turin in 1884) and it is Italian even the first moka pot, proudly developed by Bialetti in 1933.
Drinking an Italian coffee could be an intense experience, and you absolutely have to taste it once in the peninsula: that rich aroma is something you can’t find easily outside Italy. Nowhere in the world, in fact, is served in the same way, and above all, nowhere in the world it is considered in the same way.
In Italy coffee is part of the popular culture, and as a ritual it marks the moments of every day.
By the way, Italians have their own way to drink coffee and if you want to experience it in the right way, but you don’t know how to and what to order once in Italy, here we suggest you an Italian coffee culture guide, to help you avoid the tourist label.
The morning begins with a milky coffee beverage: cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè latte or latte macchiato are the choices. The ingredients are two and they are very simple: milk and coffee, indeed. But be aware, their names define completely different beverages.
A cappuccino, the king of the Italian breakfast, consists in a hot coffee served in a large cup, together with a part of hot foamed milk and a part of steamed milk. A caffè latte, instead, is composed by a hot coffee with steamed milk, while a latte macchiato consists in a glass of milk with a splash of coffee. A caffè macchiato, instead, is an espresso served in a small cup, with a small part of frothy milk in it.
Italians are quite methodical in this, they will look at you in an astonished way if you ask for a cappuccino after breakfast time; among the many variants of coffee already described, in fact , the only one you will see on the table of an Italian after lunch, is the caffè macchiato.
Otherwise they can order a caffè “normale” (an espresso), a caffè corretto (coffee with a drop of alcohol) or a caffè lungo (coffee with a part of hot water in it). A caffè americano instead, is something you will rarely find in Italians bar and it consists usually in an espresso with hot water served separately.
Differently from many other places in the world, you will hardly find a to-go cup for your coffee in Italy, as they love to take their coffee at the bar (al banco). They order there, wait for it and drink it standing there, while chatting with friends or with the barman.
Obviously you will see people drinking their coffee even sitting at a table, but that’s not the norm, especially during workdays.
What is more, in Italy, a real coffee must follow some important rules: the right roasting point of the beans is essential for the aroma of the coffee, the grinding of the beans must happen right before the brewery of the beverage, and the preparation must occur in some specific espresso machines (or a moka pot). Moreover, the coffee must be served hot in a hot, small cup.
Beside these general rules and coffee-types that are valid everywhere in Italy, any region has its own specialties related with the typical ingredients of the territory.
We are sure our Italian coffee culture guide is enough to not appear as a tourist once ordering coffee in Italy, but if you are still in doubt, our last suggestion is quite simple and intuitive: listen to what other people order at the café and do as they do.