Go Real Europe Guide to Italian Coffee

Chelsea Barbee  ·  24 / 7 / 2018

If you are visiting Italy from the U.S., prepare yourself for a large variance in coffee order than what you are accustomed to at home. Most cafes in Italy do not offer frappuccinos, sugary syrups, or anything ‘venti’ sized. Here’s what to expect instead:

Cultural warning: It is not common to order a milk coffee (i.e. cappuccino or caffè latte) after morning hours. Milk coffees are meant to be drunk in the morning and never in the afternoon or after a meal when your stomach is already full.

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1/ Cappuccino

Imagine a cup filled with one shot of espresso and warm, foamy milk. No vanilla syrups and no whipped cream on top. Just the authentic cappuccino as it should always be drunk. Small but mighty. These are perfect for your morning jolt.


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2/ Caffè Latte

Close to a cappuccino but warmer milk and less foam. Also served in small cups compared to the US.

Note: make sure to add the ‘caffè’ when ordering; a latte will just get you a tall cup of cold milk.


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3/ Caffè

A tiny shot of strong coffee (aka espresso). Usually enjoyed after a meal.


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4/ Caffè Lungo

A long shot of espresso diluted with a dash of hot water. Order this if you want to fit in with the Italians but you aren’t quite ready to make the jump to a plain caffè.


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5/ Caffè Corretto

Fancy a splash of liquor in that strong caffè? Ask for this. Usually, they will spike your coffee with rum, sambuca, or grappa. Heaven.


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6/ Caffè Macchiato

Not the caramel macchiato laden with syrup that you would pick up at a shop in the States. In Italian, macchiato means ‘spotted’. This drink is essentially a shot of espresso ‘spotted’ with a drop of foamy milk. Can be drunk any time of day since it doesn’t have much milk.


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7/ Caffè Americano

This is what most Americans think of when we think of a cup of coffee. An Americano is typically 1-2 shots of espresso topped with hot water. An easy way to tell you’re a tourist, but if you’re looking for a taste of home - why not?


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There you have it - the Go Real Europe guide to ordering coffee like a real Italian. Sip slowly and enjoy - you’re in Italy for goodness sakes!


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