Whether it’s pizza or coffee, nothing beats the authentic Italian variety of both. It’s like the Italians know how to take something nice and make it even better. The Italian coffee industry has mastered the art of coffee and offers a wide variety of choices for you when you’re visiting an Italian coffee shop. To make sure you don’t confuse yourself and order the wrong drink, let’s discuss 20 different types of Italian coffee drinks, along with a few helpful tips.
When you’re on your next trip to Italy, these tips can make you stand out while making you seem more attentive to the local culture, and of course, everyone will love it.
Sticking to the local cultural guidelines can be your best bet, but it doesn’t hurt to take extra precautions anyways. So, here are some tips for your first experience with different types of Italian coffee.
When you use the word “bar,” the smell of coffee and sweet pastries isn’t what appears in our minds. But that’s how it is in Italy. Most coffee shops are family establishments that only have a “Bar” sign out front.
Most of the coffee bars in Italy have a “pay first” rule. So make sure you make the payment first before going to the counter to make an order. And of course, remember to keep the receipt for confirming your payment.
It’s not about which bar you’re drinking in; it’s about where you’re sitting/ standing that changes the price.
There are two prices in every coffee bar:
- “Al Tavolo” price: The price for drinking coffee at tables
- “Al Banco” price: The price for drinking coffee standing at the counter
Many Italians usually spend a few minutes at the bar, drink their coffee standing at the counter while chatting with fellow coffee drinkers, and then move on with the day.
I recommend drinking your coffee “Al tavolo” because you can immerse yourself in the everyday Italian culture while saving some money.
You can order different sizes in American coffee shops depending on your morning coffee needs. But in Italian coffee bars, you get a fixed, standard size of drink for whatever you order.
So if you want to change your caffeine intake, you’ll have to change the drink instead of the order.
It’s complimentary for all Italian coffee bars to offer you a glass of water with the coffee you ordered. So if you order and the barista doesn’t offer you the water with it, feel free to ask for it.
Whenever you’re ordering anything, ordering in Italian can make it easier for the barkeeper to understand your order correctly and offer you precisely what you want. You don’t have to be an expert in Italian to do it too!
When you’re ordering coffee, you want to say “Un(one)+name of coffee+por favor(please).” And voila! Your coffee is here within a couple of minutes.
When drinking in an Italian coffee bar, the authentic coffee experience comes from joining in the social atmosphere rather than just sipping your coffee in silence.
Italians are very friendly, and they love to make small talk, and it’s very easy to engage in a friendly conversation.
20 Types Of Italian Coffee For You To Experience
Now that we know about the rules let’s take a look at the extensive roster of coffees that you will love and appreciate for sure. To make it easier to order, I’ve taken the extra time to add in the pronunciation for each of them as well.
The word “Caffè” in Italian translates to coffee (literally), but it can also mean a shot of Espresso. So this little detail can make a lot of difference.
When you’re trying to order a shot of Espresso, you need to ask for “Caffe” and not “Espresso.”
Though we mentioned earlier that there’s no different serving size in Italian coffee culture, Cappuccino is still Cappuccino in the end.
The drink’s name comes from the color of robes ancient Capuchin monks used to wear. This coffee is made out of an equal portion of Espresso, milk foam, and steamed milk.
Though you can enjoy a Cappuccino at any time you want, Italians don’t drink Cappuccino after 11 am since they consider it a full meal because of the rich foam and the milk present in the drink. Therefore, Cappuccino is more of a breakfast drink to the Italians.
The word “Ristretto” translates to “restricted” because the flow of water is restricted in the coffee to make sure the coffee has less water than the regular Espresso, or “Caffè Normale (Normal Coffee/Regular Coffee).”
The word “Lungo” means “long.” The name of the coffee comes from being served in a taller glass than usual. You can confuse it with an Americano, but there is a big difference.
In the case of an Americano, the hot water is added in after the coffee is already brewed and ready to drink. For Lungo, extra water is added during the brewing process.
You can either drink this coffee as it is or add in a bit of “Zucchero (Sugar) if bitter coffee is not your thing.
Macchiato is the foamy child of an Espresso and a Cappuccino, and it offers a wonderful experience.
Macchiato is a mix of Espresso, and a couple of drops of hot milk served in a small Espresso cup. The drink isn’t as milky or frothy as a Cappuccino, so it doesn’t have the same restrictions.
Macchiato is often served with small cookies or sweets as an extra treat. This combination can be very delightful as an afternoon snack.
This is not an entirely different coffee since the -one suffix just means to make it bigger. But remember how Italians serve one specific size for one specific order? So this one counts as a unique entry.
Macchiatone is just a larger size order of a Caffè Macchiato. Though it’s only prepared with a single shot of Espresso, what increases the amount is the frothed milk that is added in.
Macchiatone is a more regional drink than a regular one, more popular in the Northern Italian Region of Veneto.
It’s another drink that can sound incredibly similar to Macchiato, but it’s still quite different.
A standard Macchiato contains an equal proportion of Espresso, milk, and foam. But it’s more milk and less coffee when it comes to Latte Macchiato. Still, the coffee is there. So you could say it’s coffee-flavored milk that still counts as a coffee drink.
Latte Macchiato is just Steamy, frothed milk in a tall glass, and it’s served with a drop of Espresso (or two drops if you’re feeling fancy).
Coffee and whipped cream. Does the combination make your mouth water? If so, this is the perfect coffee for you to try out.
Caffè con Panna is a shot of Espresso, served with a whipped cream topping spooned over it.
To add some extra jazz to your order, you can also get yourself an Italian “Pasticceria,” or patisserie, where it’s the same thing. Still, the cream is whipped on-site, and you can bet the experience is going to be as fresh as you can imagine.
Marocchino is a pleasant mixture of cocoa and Espresso. Marocchino was invented in Alessandria, and hats off to the person who did so.
Marocchino is a mix of Espresso, foam, and a sprinkle of cocoa powder on top of the glass mug. It’s a bit milkier than the Macchiato, and the chocolate adds a pleasing flavor to the whole drink.
In Northern Italy, coffee bars offer Marocchino hot chocolate instead of chocolate sprinkles. Yummy!
Having fun to read different types of italian coffee? Check our piece on myths about coffee.
If you order a simple Latte in a coffee bar, you might start thinking that they got the order wrong.
But that’s how an Italian Latte goes. It’s a splash of Espresso on top of a heated glass of milk and a bit of foam. This coffee drink is also under the same 11 am restriction as Cappuccino.
The name literally translates into “Cream coffee,” and that’s the most accurate name any coffee drink could ever have.
Bar Keepers take Espresso, sugar, coffee cream and put them all in a blender. The result is a cool, smooth, and delicious cup of coffee. I say cool because cream coffee is usually served cold.
Another popular iced coffee, and it’s basically Italy’s way to respond to Starbucks iced coffee.
Shakerato is made by pouring chilled Espresso over ice and then shaking the drink till froth forms on top of it. This drink is enjoyed by all Italians, during any time of the day during the hot summer weather. The restriction for Shakerato is less daily and more seasonal.
If you’re wondering if you can have Chai Tea Latte in Italy, you can’t. But this drink comes pretty close to it.
Caffe Al Ginseng is a naturally sweet drink with a nutty flavor. The coffee is prepared by mixing ginseng extract with Espresso. Since it has a naturally sweet flavor, you don’t need to add an additional sweetener for this drink.
Since Ginseng greatly helps digestion, this is the perfect drink to take after a heavy lunch.
You could be sensitive to caffeine but don’t want to be left out of the evening coffee party, or you could have a very curious kid who really likes to play grown-up. Either way, this is the best drink to suit all those occasions as a fine alternative to decaffeinated coffee.
Caffè d’Orzo is a grain beverage made from roasted barley, making it 100% caffeine-free. You can order this coffee with a “Scorza Di D’arancia (Slice of orange)” if you want a flavor boost. The citrus present in the orange gives this coffee substitute a nice, mood-uplifting flavor.
The word “Doppio” means double in Italian.
As you’ve already guessed from the name, it’s a simple double-shot Espresso with a strong caffeine kick and flavor. The coffee is served with Panettone, a type of sweet bread that helps you counter the bitterness of the double Espresso.
One of Italy’s most traditional coffee drinks, Caffe Mocha, is remarked as the “real Italian coffee” by coffee aficionados.
Caffe Mocha is made using a Moka pot, a traditional coffee pot invented by Angelo Bialetti back in 1933.
Since it’s more of traditional etiquette, you will not find this coffee in regular coffee shops. But if you’re staying at a friend’s house, they will happily brew you a fine cup of this cultural deliciousness.
The name can give off a medicinal vibe, but trust me when I say it’s not. Though the recipe is similar to a Marocchino, it’s the traditional hot drink native to Turin.
Bicerin is made of Espresso, hot milk, chocolate (often hot chocolate), and then served in a small glass cup in layers.
The origin of Pattavina dates back to the 19th century, and the origin is the city of Padua in the Veneto region. This coffee is somewhat unusual because it has mint in it. So, yes, Pattavina is essentially mint coffee.
The first sip will surprise you with the sudden burst of mint flavor on your taste buds. You can also find cocoa, cream, and espresso hints in the mix. Pattavina is made by mixing Espresso, chocolate powder/ hot chocolate, cream, and mint syrup.
Americano is the watered-down version of straight Espresso (Literally), classic, and also one of the most common types of Italian coffee that gets ordered in any coffee bar.
A single serving of Americano is a cup of Espresso served with a separate cup or a small kettle full of hot water. If the Espresso serving is too strong for you, you can tone it down with additional hot water.
The word “Affogato” translates to “drowned.” In this case, the ice cream in the cup gets drowned in coffee.
Caffe Affogato is served by pouring a shot of Espresso over a scoop of ice cream. Since this drink has more dessert than coffee, Affogato is considered more of a dessert coffee drink perfect for summertime refreshment.
Had fun reading different types of italian coffee?
You’ll love to read our piece on coffee for people who don’t like coffee.
At this point, you’re not only well-versed in all types of Italian coffee, but a bit of the Italian language too. Which is a great thing because we want you to use your newfound confidence to order the best drink you want from an Italian coffee bar and have a good time with your fellow coffee lovers.
There are a few coffee drinks that the Italians like to enjoy during any time of the day. However, drinks like Cappuccino are considered breakfast drinks, and they don’t take it after 11 am in morning.
Yes, a classic Italian breakfast always includes different types of coffee, depending on the choice of the person who’s ordering.
In Italian, the word is “caffè” instead of coffee.
Cappuccino is my favorite Italian drink because of the fine mix of flavors.
Though both Macchiato and a Latte are Espresso mixed with milk, a Latte has foamed milk on top of the drink, unlike Macchiato.