So you've come to Italy, and you need your daily dose of caffeine.
You're probably thinking, where is the nearest Starbucks?
Well, we don't really have that around here (except for the new Starbucks that just recently opened up in Milan).
What you can do though, is drink coffee like a local, and I'll tell you all about that.
Cafes are located on almost every corner in Italy.
We actually call them "bars" here, because not only do they serve coffee, but you can also order the infamous Aperol Spritz, a glass of vino (wine), or whatever alcoholic beverages are offered. Any bar, pasticceria (bakery), gelato shop, or restaurant
will probably have what you're looking for.
If you're accustomed to coffee culture in America, your go to is probably a frappuccino, mocha, latte, caramel macchiato, or americano.
Well, that's not so much the case here, and it may even come across as a bit of a shock at how different coffee culture is.
For starters, there are no sizing options when it comes to coffee.
Grandes and ventis?
We don't know them. That's not a thing.
Coffee sizes are much smaller and typically come in one standard size, which is about the size of a shot of espresso.
In my experience, I've come to discover that there are a handful of main types of coffee beverages in Italy, and I'll break them down for you:
This is very strong shot of espresso.
You can add a bit of sugar to it to sweeten it up, but otherwise you basically shot it down and go on your merry way.
This is a shot of espresso with a little bit of milk added to it. As you can see it's still pretty small. To go with it, you can get all sorts of little pastries which cost under $1 (usually about 0.70 Euro). The size may look quite small, but the pastries are quite rich in flavor,
so usually one will be more than enough.
The only difference between a cappuccino and a macchiatone is that the cappuccino has a little bit more milk added to it. Typically the size is still quite small, however if you notice the photo on the right, it looks significantly bigger. So far I've only encountered a few places who will have bigger sizing, and they usually tend to be more touristy areas.
Caffe con Panna:
This literally translates to "espresso with cream". Some places will offer different flavors such as "vaniglia" (vanilla) or "pistachio", and I always feel extra bougie drinking one of these.
Of course there are a few more coffee variations than the ones I mentioned (ginseng coffee, cortado, orzo), but the differences only vary slightly. Typically the cost of these ranges from 1-2 euro, however in more touristy areas, they may overcharge a little more.
-Never order just a "latte", because you will end up with a glass a steamed milk and no coffee. "Latte" literally translates to "milk" in Italian.
-Don't try to modify your drink by asking for "skim/soy/non-fat" milk options, because typically whole milk is used.
-Don't try to order your drink "to go". Sometimes you might be able to get a styrofoam "to go" cup, but generally no one walks around with a coffee in hand. They will drink it at the bar and then go on their way.
So this is what to expect when in Italy. I will have a separate post on how to brew coffee like a local when you're at home.