Rome Stories and Tips

Coffee in Italy for beginners

Rome, Italy Photo, Rome, Italy

Coffee in Italy is one serious thing. This dark and aromatic brew is strong, fragrant and nothing like people in the US are used to. Even the smallest bar will serve a very good cup of coffee (to start with, they all have a cappuccino machine).

To help the traveller choose the coffee, here are my tips: when you order a coffee or "caffé", don't expect a 20 oz. cup. "Caffé" is the equivalent of an "espresso". You don't even need to call it espresso - if you ask for a coffee, you'll get an "espresso". It is seriously strong and served in a tiny cup (a demitasse). The ristretto is an even tinier cup of coffee, but because it's "stopped short" of a "Caffé", it's not as bitter. On the opposite, the caffé lungo is a tall caffé.

If you crave for coffee, you can order a "caffé doppio", a double shot of coffee, or a "caffé americano", which is basically a shot of coffee with more water added afterward so you have a bigger cup.

"Caffé macchiatto" or stained coffee is a coffee with a little bit of milk, while "caffé con panna" has cream on top instead of milk.

The "caffé latte" is quite popular amongst the tourists too. It's a shot of coffee with a lot of steamed milk and topped with a little bit of foam. While people pleaser cappuccino is a coffee just topped with steamed milk without holding back the foam (tourists add cocoa on top).

Little known "Caffé coretto" has a little bit of alcohol (grappa, whisky for gentlemen, amaretto for the ladies, but you can choose what you want) in it.

Coffee is usually drunk on the spot without even sitting. You'll see a lot of Italians in the morning on their way to work stopping at the bar for a quick fix. But even tiny bars have a couple of chairs, if you want to take your time.

Now... to order the coffee is another thing, so you can follow the link below and you'll be able to order your drink like an Italian!

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/language/caffes.htm

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