AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO ITALIAN COFFEE TRADITION
Have you ever had your espresso sitting down? Or ordered a cappuccino in the afternoon? If you’ve done either of these in Italy, then you’re almost certainly not a native.
At La Bontazza we are so in love with the Italian coffee culture that we wanted to give you an essential guide to ordering in an Italian cafè. So, if you’re having a holiday in Roma or Firenze just bring this guide with you and you’ll fit right in with the locals.
Coffee is so much a part of Italian culture that the idea of not drinking it is as foreign as the idea of having to explain its rituals. These rituals are set in stone and not always easy for outsiders to understand.
LATTE: Back home in Australia, you pride yourself on your excellent pronunciation of “latte” when you order at the cafè. Ask for a “latte” in Italy and all you’ll get is a cup of nothing but cold milk. The closest thing to a latte in Italy is a “latte macchiato” which consists of hot milk with some coffee.
CAPPUCCINO: If you want to show off your Italian culture awareness, then don’t even think of ordering a cappuccino in the afternoon or after a meal. The very idea of drinking milk on a full stomach is aweful to most Italians.
DE-CAFFEINATED: When you order a de-caff coffee in Italy, is like ordering a pizza with no topping.
CAFFE’ CORRETTO: Ready for a splash of alcohol during daylight hours? “Corretto” translates in “correct” – as in the correct way to have a coffee. Typically, this means adding a drop (or more) of italian grappa to your espresso. Usually the nonni like to get their coffee “corretto”.
ESPRESSO: If you’ll order a “caffè” in Italy, you’ll always just get an espresso. Yes, it doesn’t look like much, but an Italian espresso is very powerful.
CAFFE’ LUNGO: If you like your coffee strong, try ordering a “caffè lungo”. It’s hot water with espresso added to it, not to be confused with an American coffee.
CAFFE’ AL BANCO: Italian cafè menus will often have two prices – one for the table (al tavolo) and one for the bar (al banco) which is cheaper. If you’re travelling around Italy you’ll find that most Italians get their coffee at the bar.
CAFFE’ MACCHIATO: If you really can’t do without a splash of milk in your coffee, then try the “caffè macchiato”. No, not the kind of macchiato you order in Australia. In Italy it’s an espresso topped with a frothy cloud of milk.
Well, that’s all. Anything else you may have heard is heresy. :D