Introduced during the 1500s, since then coffee has been playing an essential role in Italian culture, with its everyday rituals, such as cappuccino or café macchiato for breakfast and espresso as an afternoon pick-me-up or right after dinner. Let’s discover the most traditional different types of Italian coffee and typical coffee-based drinks you can taste while travelling throughout the Bel Paese!
While “caffè” does literally translates to coffee, this word commonly refers to a shot of espresso generally served in a small cup and drank throughout the day. Likewise, when ordering a “caffè doppio” you will receive a double sized espresso shot.
Probably the most popular Italian hot beverage featuring coffee, cappuccino includes milk and is made with Italian espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam in equal parts. Depending on your preference, you can in fact increase or decrease these amounts. That is basically why Italians are used to drink it especially in the morning. You may add cinnamon or cocoa over it at leisure. Furthermore, during summer you can also order a delightful, iced cappuccino!
Particularly beloved by both Italians and tourists, it is a milky drink that is generally consumed in the morning. It is important to point out how it tends to be smaller than the versions you generally taste abroad.
Caffè ristretto consists of a rather stronger version of espresso made with the same amount of beans but only half of the water. Perfect when you are in a rush, it is generally consumed in just one sip. This drink is served in a small cup like an espresso cup.
It is basically and literally a “Long Espresso”, a hot beverage that may remind a Caffè Americano, though definitely stronger. Like espresso, the “caffè lungo” is served in a small cup but it contains more caffeine than espresso.
Ginseng coffee (“Caffè al ginseng” in Italian) is a typical Italian espresso with a ginseng root extract giving your beverage a peculiar nutty flavour. If you are a tea lover, you may in fact go for it!
We are dealing with one of the most distinctive beverages one can find in Italy. Not including coffee at all, it is instead brewed with barley as a substitute.
Marocchino can be considered as a sort of dessert coffee drink, as it is prepared with a shot of espresso, a layer of foam and a few dashes of cacoa powder. To make the Marocchino tastier, it is also possible to add a sprinkle of cocoa powder over the espresso before adding the froth. Served in a glass and typically topped with a sprinkle of cacao powder, it is admittedly delightful and almost looks as good as it tastes! Some of its variations may also include cinnamon or Nutella!
That’s how iced coffee is known all over Italy! Whether you are up for something cold and refreshing, this is the Italian coffee drink that best suits you! Literally meaning “shaken coffee”, it is brewed by baristas by shaking some espresso and ice in a cocktail shaker and served in a cocktail-like feel martini-style glass. Caffè shakerato is taken with sugar and frequently includes a sip of amaro or other liqueurs.
A caffè corretto, or “corrected coffee” as it is called in English, is the common expression used to indicate espresso coffee with the addition of a drop of an alcoholic drink. Italians love to add grappa, brandy, Sambuca, Irish cream, rum or anisette to their coffee, but feel free to order it with a liqueur or spirit at your leisure. Caffè corretto is just perfect for those who want to end a meal with coffee, without giving up the taste of a good digestive.
Don’t forget that as Italians enjoy coffee throughout the whole day, often as a break from work, this ritual is commonly intended as an experience they like to share in good company of friends and relatives, or to welcome a stranger or a new acquaintance.