Reason Four: Italian Coffee

Coffee Al Fresco

Coffee Al Fresco

If you are a coffee connoisseur, you’ll feel right at home in Italy. This is where you’ll find good coffee almost anywhere. From the tiny bar in the middle of nowhere to the rest stops on the super highways, the barristas in Italy know how to brew a good cup of espresso.

Traditional Cappulccino

Traditional Cappuccino

The barristas here are fast, efficient and talented. At 8 a.m. on any weekday, a small neighborhood bar can fill up quickly with anxious coffee drinkers, starting their work day. Somehow, the Italian barrista will get the orders filled and still have time to comment on the weather or the most recent news while brewing coffee and refilling the tiny dishwasher.

Don’t expect to order anything too different—it’s un caffè, which is an espresso, un caffè doppio, which is a double espresso, un caffè Americano, which is like American coffee or a few other choices such as a cappuccino or macchiato. Don’t worry—you can get decaffeinated varieties and even soy milk in most bars.

Our Neighborhood Baristas

Our Neighborhood Baristas

When you stay in a town for a few days, select your favorite coffee bar and be sure to return the next day. On your second visit to a neighborhood bar, most barristas already have your order memorized. If you avoid the rush hour, you may even have some time to chat and receive some helpful advice. If you stay in the same town for a week or longer, the coffee bar soon feels like home.



Coffee poster

Coffee poster

In the big cities, near the busy tourist sights, the prices for coffee vary, depending on whether you stand at the bar or choose a seat (there’s a service charge to sit down). While in Rome, be sure to visit Tazza d’Oro, near the Pantheon for a true coffee experience. You place your order at the register and squeeze into a spot at the counter where you place your receipt. Then enjoy watching the skilled coffee artisans in action while you wait for some of the best espresso in town.
But if you venture into the outer neighborhoods or stay in a smaller town, it’s a bit more mellow and the prices are lower. You don’t have to pay ahead of time and they invite you to sit at a table with no extra service charge.

caffè doppio and cappuccino

caffè doppio and cappuccino

When you travel to Italy, don’t expect to find coffee to go in a paper cup. That’s just not part of the coffee culture there. You join the lively action inside the bar, receive your coffee in a ceramic cup with a saucer and take some time to slow down and savor your drink—even if you’re standing at the bar. Just another reason (among 29 more) that I keep returning to the Bel Paese.



About msraaka

I am an artist, writer and desktop publishing consultant living in the Pacific Northwest. After our first visit to Italy, my husband Bob and I have found ways to spend more and more time there and other countries in Europe. We love to travel, but especially to stay in one area and get a better sense of place. I love learning languages, so I continue to study Italian, French and Spanish so I can communicate a bit more with the locals. Even learning the basic greetings can make a big difference.
This entry was posted in Italy, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Reason Four: Italian Coffee

  1. lesvoyagesdumonde says:

    Mmmm…When I’m in Italy definitely going for the coffee

  2. lemonodyssey says:

    Great advice, especially about going to the same place the second day (and more)! It’s amazing how quickly you can become a “regular,” and you will be appreciated for your appreciation!

  3. NaidaGee says:

    I’m loving your short, targeted essays, Martie! And I love getting one each day!

  4. lemonodyssey says:

    One other point: Yes, you can get decaf in Italy and there’s no shame in it! Just order any coffee drink and add “decaffienato” on the end. You’ll be happy with the result.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s