Coffee is served everywhere in the world, in different forms and using different methods of preparation. Italians, however, are very conservative about their coffee tradition so, you'd be surprised to find that the way you enjoy coffee is different from how the Italians do!
Foreign attempts to adapt and embellish coffee with milkshakes and frappuccinos are especially frowned upon in Italy. In fact, most famous coffee chains are yet to open a franchise there, so the trend is independently run cafes staffed by ultra-professional baristas.
If you take a trip to Italy, then keep the following in mind when visiting one of such outlets.
1. The Flavour of Coffee in Italy
One of the most unique things about coffee in Italy is that regardless of where you find it, it is consistent and of top-notch quality. Italians prefer their coffee to have a heavily roasted, bittersweet flavor with a brown foam or crema on top.
2. Italian Baristas Are Speedy
You can be sure of getting speedy service from any baristas in Italy. This is partly because they usually possess years of experience and also because they don't have to add any fancy-schmancy detail to every cup they prepare!
3. How to Order Coffee in Italy
Now, this is very important. Ordering coffee in Italy is subjected to a few rules and the most important is that you should use the Italian terms for your order. In order words, you don't want to delay the barista with long order cues.
Learn the terms!
A caffè is a strong shot of espresso (the term ‘espresso’ is rarely used in Italian coffee bar parlance).
A macchiato is an espresso with a dash of steamed milk.
An americano is an espresso with added hot water making for a slightly longer drink.
The cappuccino is an espresso topped with warm frothy milk with an optional sprinkling of chocolate.
4. Coffee Variations in Italy
Although conservative about their coffee culture, Italians still enjoy a few recipe variations. Some of them are:
A caffè corretto: which is an espresso ‘corrected’ with a slug of liquor, usually grappa.
A doppio is a double espresso, perfect for hangovers.
A ristretto is a short espresso with less water but equal potency.
A cappuccino scuro is a cappuccino made with less milk.
The marocchino: a delicious mix of coffee, cocoa powder, and milk.
The bicerin: consists of layered espresso, hot chocolate and milk and is served in a glass.
The cioccolata calda (hot chocolate): a special favorite for the kids.
5. The Pausa
Last but not least, never expect to "take out" your coffee in disposable take-out cups. If you're in a hurry then you should think twice about ordering coffee. Like the natives, you are expected to sit at the bar for "una pausa" (a pause), take a few bites from the accompanying pastry, neck your boiling hot espresso, chit chat with the barista, and leave!