Italy seems to have a defined way of going about the day and consuming this beverage. It shows based on the many variations this beverage comes in, and one would think coffee was invented in this country. Cappuccino, caffe espresso, macchiato, shakerato, caffe latte, coretto, doppio, and in vetro are just the normal requests heard by Italians on a daily basis. There also happens to be an etiquette in going about having coffee throughout the day.
Italians hold this little beverage to a much higher standard than the rest of the world. I’ve yet to encounter a single Italian who doesn’t drink coffee. I myself have become a coffee afficionado of sorts and I’ll skip certain places just to have good quality espresso. Working as a barista years ago here in Florence to improve my language skills, gave me a knowledge and taught me some amazing techniques to create these tasty beverages. Not to mention I loooooove coffee. As a tourist here one should know that there are rules to drinking coffee like an Italian.
Rule 1: NEVER, I mean NEVER drink coffee with a meal.
Rule 2: Coffee is drank fairly quickly, usually best to order at the bar or ‘al bar’ and sip there. Those sitting will be charged a service fee and you pay double.
Rule 3: Do not drink cappuccino after midday. You will get looks lol! NEVER with a meal or after. Exceptions are made when drinking with a pastry at breakfast. Dunking and spooning the left over schiuma is also allowed.
Rule 4: NO asking for non-fat, skim, 2%, or soy milk. If you can’t handle dairy or want to avoid calories just lay off the white stuff.
Rule 5: You can ask for decaf.
These are just some of the basics. Once you have had quality coffee it’s hard to switch back to whatever you were drinking before. No extras like mint chocolate chip seasonal stuff exist here. Taking coffee or offering one is a very casual thing. Italians drink a lot of coffee mainly in small shot- like glasses thoughout the day. I’ve listed all the coffee definitions to guide you as well. See you on my next adventure with Florencetown!
- Caffe- single shot of espresso
- Doppio-double espresso
- Macchiato- espresso with a spot of steamed milk
- Cappuccino- steamed milk with equal parts espresso
- Caffe latte- like a cappuccino but with more milk than espresso
- Coretto- espresso with a shot of grappa or sambuca
- Al vetro- espresso served in a glass instead of ceramic
- Ristretto- more concentrated than espresso with less water
- Shakerato- coffee shaken with ice and sugar served cold
Take a tour of Florence and find interesting facts and rules like mine and experiences through florencetown.com or simply log on to navigate the site and ask questions.