When you’re holidaying in Italy, be it cosmopolitan Milan, picturesque Tuscany or the romantic Amalfi coastline, the heady aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans mixed with Vespa fumes filling the air, just nipping into the local bar for a quick coffee can turn into a veritable minefield of choices. It would be hard to think of Italy without coffee. After all it is the national breakfast and the home to coffee drinks that have taken the rest of the world by storm. Without Italy, Starbucks would not exist and without coffee, Italy would grind to a halt. No, coffee was not invented in Italy but coffee culture as we know it did originate here. Today Italy is a country of coffee aficionados who will not tolerate (or visit) an establishment that has bad coffee. Italians will even skip coffee in a restaurant to have one at a favorite bar, it is just that important.
In the big cities or airports in Italy, you are expected to pay first before ordering. In smaller towns and villages it works on trust, order first, pay later and obviously it helps if you can speak enough of the lingo to explain that you had one of those long, swidgy things with the custard inside! After a few days you’ll become a dab hand at miming a jam doughnut!
When ordering a coffee in bar in Italy keep in mind the differences in price. In many of the nicest piazza in Italy a cappuccino can cost four times as much if you sit at a table than drinking it at the bar. Most Italians drink their coffee quickly at the bar before heading off to work, leaving the tables for the tourists. If you try to order a coffee by asking the bartender, be prepared to give him your receipt. In most places you have to pay for your drink first and then show proof of purchase by giving the bartender the receipt. It sounds silly, but it is an effective way to make sure everyone pays for their order.
For ordering an espresso in Italy, you can simply ask for a “caffe” and remember to drink in quickly. Espresso is not made to sip casually, it is made to be drunk in two or three sips at most. Coffee is not served by itself and is served after a meal, with the exception of breakfast. Any coffee after breakfast should not have milk in it and cappuccino orders after 11 am are often laughed at. However there are numerous varieties of coffee drinks that you can order and all are delicious. This is in no way a complete list as new versions are always being invented or adapted. Here are some of the more popular coffees that you will see ordered in Italy.
Coffee lovers cannot go without sampling the aromatic coffee varieties that splash across the Italian sprawl. So while you are in Italy, make it a point to sample the varieties of coffee from various regions in Italy while you are exploring around and a hired car gives you the freedom to stop by at coffee reputes on your way to the itineraries. There are many car rentals in Italy like Car Rental Italy that offer self-drive and chauffeured options to help you explore the place to the core with ease.