Being a huge coffee lover, I was super excited to go to Italy and drink my weight in coffee. While I did get the hang of it by the fourth or fifth day, ordering coffee in Italy definitely wasn’t as easy as I thought. There are different types of coffee in Italy and it’s not as easy as just trying to order your favorite Starbucks drink.
This guide will help you feel more confident ordering coffee in Italy.
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Types of Coffee in Italy
In Italy coffee has its own culture. Unwritten rules if you will. No not actual rules that if you break you get into trouble, but don’t be surprised if you “break ” one of these rules you get a strange look.
Coffee in Italy is not just consumed in the morning at breakfast or on your way to work. Coffee is savored and consumed all day long. I mean most Italians have an espresso after dinner. This is probably why I love coffee so much. Being Italian coffee pretty much runs through my veins.
The coffee “laws” in Italy are as follows:
A Cappuccino at breakfast
A Caffè Macchiato or two during the day
An Espresso after dinner
Tip: if you order a latte in Italy, you most likely will be receiving a glass of milk. Instead, you need to order a caffè latte which is espresso and steamed milk.
Morning Types of Coffee in Italy
In the morning your pastry is usually accompanied by a delicious creamy milk-based coffee drink.
Caffè Latte– Espresso with more steamed milk and less foam
Cappuccino– Espresso with steamed milk and more foam
Latte Macchiato– Steamed milk marked with espresso (instead of the espresso being put in the cup first it is poured into the top of the milk “marking” it.)
If you want to blend in and not look like a tourist, do not order these types of coffee in Italy after 11 am. These milk-based coffees are usually only consumed in the morning and never in the afternoon or after a meal.
Afternoon Types of Coffee in Italy
Like I mentioned before, Italians don’t drink milk-based coffees after 11 am. So what do you order?
Caffè– a shot of espresso
If you are a Starbucks regular then you are probably familiar with espresso. An espresso shot is what is in your latte.
A Caffè in Italy is stronger than here in the U.S. If you need more of a pick me up you can order a doppio (two shots of espresso). That isn’t something most Italians do instead they just go back and order more than once.
Other Types of Coffee in Italy
While these are the most popular coffee drinks for Italians do not let this make you too nervous. Because Italy is such a touristy place there are other things that you can order if you prefer something other than what was previously listed.
Caffè Macchiato– An espresso marked with milk. Like the latte macchiato but with mostly espresso.
Caffè Corretto– An espresso with a splash of alcohol such as grappa or sambuca. Translated to “corrected coffee” this is what most Italians have after dinner.
Caffè Americano– Espresso with water. This is the most like a drip coffee that you get in the U.S.
Ristretto– Like an espresso but made with half the water so it’s stronger.
Caffè Lungo– A “long coffee”. Is espresso and water. Like the Caffè Americano but with a splash of water so it is stronger.
Tips for Ordering Coffee in Italy:
- Don’t order milky based coffee after 11 am
- Coffee is usually ordered and drank at the bar
- You normally drink your coffee and then pay at the bar
- Coffee is meant to be consumed socially so to-go cups are virtually nonexistent.
- It is not uncommon to visit your favorite coffee shop multiple times a day.
- Don’t order a latte unless you want a glass of milk. Caffè Latte is most likely what you are trying to order.
- Order coffee regionally. Look up the most common coffee in the region you are visiting and try something new!
Planning a trip to Italy? Read our Italy planning guide here.
I hope this guide helps you order coffee in Italy more confidently. What is your favorite type of coffee to get in Italy? Let me know in the comments.