The Art of Italian Coffee
The name Coffee Bar actually comes from the term used to describe an Italian café. In Italy, when someone goes to the bar, it means they're treating themselves to a tazza, or cup, of strong, steaming hot espresso.
An Italian coffee bar is much different than your average American café or local Starbucks. Italians are extremely passionate (and extremely particular) about their coffee and have a set of practices all their own.
Since these coffee rituals can be difficult to comprehend, we’d like to share with you a few unwritten rules and fun facts about Italy’s vibrant coffee culture:
1. In Italy, locals prefer to have their coffee first thing in the morning. Coffee beverages containing milk, such as cappuccinos, are meant to be enjoyed before noon and never past dinnertime. Italians believe that the milk on a full stomach interferes with digestion.
2. Most Italians have a favorite bar they frequent every day, as well as a preferred barista (person who prepares their coffee). Baristas are revered in Italy for their espresso-making abilities.
3. Italians like their espresso quick. A stop at the bar might take less than five minutes total – order, pay, drink, and you’re out the door. Ideally, an espresso should be consumed in no more than three sips.
4. Italians drink their coffee standing at the bar. Sit down, and you’re likely to be identified as a tourist!
Here’s a list of commonly used words that are helpful in understanding Italian coffee:
Caffé: Plain espresso, which is the basis of all Italian coffee beverages. Served in a small espresso cup with foam on top called crema.
Doppio: Describes a double shot of espresso.
Cappuccino: Espresso topped with hot, foamed milk. Cappuccino cups are rounder and wider.
Latté Macchiato: Literally translated as “stained milk,” the latté macchiato consists of espresso poured into hot milk.
Caffé Latte: What Americans refer to as simply a latte (if you ask for that in Italy, you’ll receive a glass of milk!). Steamed milk with a bit of coffee, served in a tall glass.