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Tasting and Enjoying 13 of the Best Coffee Types in Italy

Coffee first came to Italy around 1570, entering the port of Venice, most likely from Turkey. Pope Clement VIII (1536-1605), was an early coffee enthusiast. Since then, Italy has become synonymous with the best coffees in the world.

There are many different ways of making coffee in Italy, all of them falling in two categories: with milk (cappuccino) and without milk (espresso). Italians frown on drinking a cappuccino after 11am, believing the milk plays havoc with digestion later in the day.

Below are different types of coffee offered in Italy and how to order your favorite ones.


Espresso: A concentrated brown-black potion brewed by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground roasted coffee beans. It is so called, not because it is quick to make, but because it is made ‘expressly’ for the person who orders it.

Caffe Solo: A single cup of espresso

Doppio Espresso or Caffe Doppio: A double espresso

Ristretto:  A short shot of espresso, achieved by exposing the coffee grounds to hot water for a fraction less of time, giving the caffeine less of a chance to intrude on the natural flavors of the coffee oils.

Caffe Lungo: A long coffee uses more water than a regular espresso, thus the flavor is less intense.

Cappuccino: Prepared with espresso and hot steamed milk, creating a froth which gives it its distinct color. It is named for the cowls of Capuchin monks.

Cappuccino Senza Schiuma: A cappuccino without too much foam.

Macchiato: An espresso ‘stained’ with a dribble of milk. You may also ask for a Latte Macchiato, which is more milk than coffee.

Caffe Corretto: Translated means ‘corrected’ coffee, which is an espresso ‘corrected’ with a shot of grappa, sambuca or brandy. To order, ask for caffe corretto a grappa; corretto a sambuca or corretto a cognac.

Caffe Americano: A black coffee prepared by adding hot water to espresso.

Caffe Instantaneo:  Instant coffee (which is unheard of in Italy).

Caffe di Cicoria: A chicory coffee

Bicerin: A coffee made in Torino is a mixture of cappuccino and hot chocolate, sometimes served with whipped cream, topped off with chocolate powder.




Barista: The person who makes your coffee

Al Banco: At the bar

A Tavola: At the table; when ordering at a table in the coffee bar

Bar: An ordinary coffee bar

Caffe: A more exclusive, elegant place than a bar

Coffee Cup: Tazza

Spoon: Cucchiaio

Milk: Latte

Cream: Crema

Sugar: Zucchero

Lemon: Limone

To Brew Coffee: Fabbricare una caffe

Coffeepot: Caffettiera