Coffee is very much part of the Italian culture. Italians drink coffee several times a day. Italians most favourite one is a one-shoot coffee called espresso or simply caffè. Indeed, if you enter a bar (bar is the Italian word for the English word “Café”) and you ask for a coffee, you will get an espresso. If you want something different, you need to make it very clear adding another word after caffè. These are the most common words you will hear in an Italian bar:
- Caffè: one shot coffee also known as espresso
- Caffè ristretto: a “concentrated” espresso
- Caffé lungo: a less concentrated espresso (with more water than an espresso)
- Caffè doppio: double shot of espresso
- Caffè macchiato: an espresso with a drop of milk
- Caffè corretto: an espresso with a drop of liquor
- Caffè latte: milky coffee. Be carefull: this is what in English is called Latte. In Italian, latte means only milk. If you ask for a “Latte”, you will get a glass of milk with no coffee inside!
One of the most common coffee drink in Italy is the famous Cappuccino (espresso plus steamed milk plus foam). Unlike it happens abroad, Italians drink Cappuccino only in the morning. It is considered a breakfast drink same as all the other coffee drinks that contain milk. So you will hardly find an Italian drinking a cappuccino after 11 am.
Suggestion: Italians often have coffee standing up at the bar. Coffee can cost more when consumed at the table rather than at the bar. This is particularly true in the city centre of Bologna or near tourist sites.