Italian coffee traditions

Last Updated on September 26, 2020

In this article I’ll tell you how Italians brew and drink coffee.

Italy, where coffee is almost a cult, can’t be without many interesting rules, traditions and peculiarities associated with this drink. Italians drink coffee everywhere and always. Therefore, if you decide to visit this country or want to add a little Italian color to your reality, then be sure to explore the most striking features of Italian coffee culture.

A little bit of history

As many have guessed, the Italian Peninsula isn’t homeland to this wonderful drink. The history of coffee in Italy began only in the 16th century, when the first coffee beans were brought to Venice from the Ottoman Empire. Initially, only the privileged class could afford coffee. Then plantations appeared in America and cheap coffee was imported to Italy.

The drink quickly gained popularity, becoming an ordinary thing for every home. Not surprisingly, Italians began to come up with new recipes for preparing the drink, and then created their own coffee traditions. In Italy, for non-observance of these traditions, you’ll be considered a strange or small-minded tourist.

So what kind of coffee is drunk in Italy?

The word “Espresso” here means the process of making a drink. That’s why Italians never order an Espresso in a coffeehouse — they say “bring me a coffee (caffé)”.

Everyone has different tastes, so there are many varieties of coffee. Here are the most popular ones:

·      Doppio is a double coffee, which in other countries is called a double Espresso. However, such “big” doses aren’t popular. It’s better to drink less coffee, but often.

·      Ristretto is a stronger coffee brewed with a minimum of water. Not everyone will like such a strong drink.

·      Lungo is a kind of analogue of Americano, but tastier, according to Italians. It differs from ordinary coffee in a large amount of water (about 50-60 ml).

Latte, Macchiato, Cappuccino and other coffee drinks with milk are no less popular here, but they are drunk only in the morning.

Dive into Italian culture

If you really want to know how coffee is drunk in Italy, then go to any establishments away from the tourist routes. The baristas working here will not only serve you quickly, but will always listen to you and support any topic of conversation. Regular visitors are known here by sight and try to serve them first during rush hour.

Never sit down at a table, otherwise you’ll have to pay extra for the service and the order will cost several times more. Italians drink coffee at the counter, leaving tables for old people and tourists. It’s here, in small and quiet establishments, you can get a taste of Italy, seasoned with the divine aroma of real coffee.

Depending on the region you visit, you can try exotic drinks. Milan will spoil you with delicious Marocchino with chocolate and foamed milk. When you are in Naples, be sure to try the local pride “Caffe alla nocciola” — a drink with a pleasant nutty flavor.

In general, the various additives to coffee in Italy are treated in two ways. On the one hand, the classic taste of strong coffee is appreciated here. On the other hand, the most famous Italian coffeehouses pride themselves on original recipes with aromatic spices.

How coffee is brewed in Italy?

For all the time, many options for making coffee have been invented, but in Italy two methods of preparing a drink have traditionally taken root. If you dream of the same coffee as in the famous Italian cafes, then get a good coffee machine.

If you want to indulge yourself with something more traditional and homely, then try the simple and inexpensive Moka coffee maker, which is found in almost every Italian home. One of its main advantages is quick preparation of the drink. Coffee in such a coffee maker quickly heats up and boils, so you need to constantly monitor the process. With well-roasted and freshly ground beans, you get incredibly aromatic and delicious coffee.

Great advice

To truly understand Italian coffee traditions, you must remember a very simple rule followed by many Italians and true coffee lovers. It doesn’t matter what kind of coffee you prefer. It’s important that the coffee is made with soul and in a great mood. Drink coffee anytime, anywhere, drink it with pleasure, and it’ll be really Italian-style.