The coffee culture in Italy is sacred and quite different from other countries. For example; it’s a rarity to sit down while drinking and it can actually cost you up to four times as much if you do sit down. Forget comfortable armchairs with free WiFi á la Starbucks. In fact, Starbucks dosen’t exist in Italy even though it gains territories in whole Europe.
Italians drink their coffee standing in the bar, usually ready with a bag of sugar in their hands even before the cup is served in front of them.
Cappuccino – from morning to 11 am
Romans say that you can’t get a decent cappuccino outside Rome, and I believe them..
Cappuccino is a morning drink containing an espresso shot and hot, foamed milk. It tastes absolutely best together with a cornetto (croissant) of your choice. Italians drink their cappuccino as a part of their breakfast (colazione), usually on their way to work. If you order a cappuccino after a lunch or a dinner you might offend the waiter since he will think that you are still hungry and maybe didn’t like the food.
Espresso – all day (normally afternoon and after dinner)
About 70 millions cups of espresso are served each day in Italy. That is 810 cups per second(!!). Italians rarely calls it espresso, here it is known as un café. Taking an espresso is a quick procedure that usually do not take more than a minute to drink, standing of course. The few times you are sitting down to enjoy it is after lunch or dinner, that is if you are already sitting down. If you prefer a decaf after dinner no one will raise their eyebrows.
In southern Italy the espresso is usually even stronger and shorter, a so called ristretto. You always get it serve it with a glass of water on the side. Caffé macchiato – all day (same as espresso)
Caffé Macchiato – all day
Macchiato means “stained” and referes to the marks the milk leaves when it’s splashed into the espresso. The drink can be ordered any time of the day just like the espresso. It has a “sibling” called Latte Macchiato which is the opposite, meaning, hot milk with a splash of espresso.
Caffé Americano – all day
The name Caffé Americano is quite revealing. It is the closest you get to american filter coffee. If you order it you will get an espresso with hot water which more or less tastes like “a regular” coffee.
Caffé freddo – all the day (summer time)
In the summer time it’s popular to drink cold espresso – caffé freddo. It is sweetened and served in a small glass.