Coffee is pretty much ingrained in the culture here in Italy and I’ve been fascinated by the different styles offered of my favorite beverage. First of all, Starbucks has it all wrong. It’s “piccolo, medio, and grande” instead of Tall, Grande, and Venti. And really, I haven’t seen anything offered that is bigger than a normal sized coffee cup.
There’s also a lot more variety with the menu. It’s common to see over 20 different ways to have your espresso. Here’s a few I’ve seen pretty frequently:
Caffè con Cioccolato: Cappuccino with chocolate shavings elegantly served in a china cup.
Caffè Corretto: This is coffee “corrected.” An espresso with a splash (not a full shot) of your choice of liquor. I tried it with amaretto. Delish.
Caffè Schekerato (or Shakerato): Espresso, sugar, and ice shaken in a martini shaker to make a sweet cold coffee, usually with a bit of sweet foam at the top. At first glance, it might look like a mini Guinness.
Caffè Estivo: This is an espresso with a lot of cream and foam on top. Personally, it was too foamy and flavorless for me.
Caffè Marocchino: Espresso with cacao. Who ever decided to marry coffee and chocolate together should be made into a saint. Yes, it’s that divine.
Macchiato: This is an espresso capped off with about a teaspoon of milk and served in an espresso cup. It is similar to the Cuban cortado or cortadito, but nothing like the 20 ounce monstrosity that is served at coffee shops in the states.
Caffè Ginseng: As you might expect, this is an espresso with ginseng extract. The touted health benefits and extra energy has made this popular at coffee shops in Italy. I though it tasted kind of nutty and sweet. One of my favorites.
Orzo: This isn’t coffee. Though it’s brewed like coffee and has a nutty flavor similar to coffee, but it’s actually ground barley. It’s a new trend. I’d like it, but it’s missing caffeine kick. To be honest, I haven’t tried it yet. But if I do, I’ll add a picture!
Other ways that coffee here in Italy differs from coffee in the US: for the most part, it’s quick. Coffee bars are just that, bars, where you stand, sip your espresso, and in 5 minutes you’re done and out the door. This is especially true in the morning as people are on their way to work or school. There is no “coffee-to-go” or drive-thru to speak of. Even though it is quick, it is savored, celebrated, and served in a proper cup. It’s also typically served with a thimble-sized glass of water. I like that the Italian’s value being caffeinated more than hydration.
Now, in the afternoons, I notice Italians take a little bit more time with their coffee and will actually sit for a bit. It’s been refreshing to see cafes full of women of all ages enjoying an espresso and a pastry without an ounce of guilt on their face.
If you find yourself in Bologna, you must try Caffè Terzi. It was recommend to me by Bologna Magazine who sent me a tweet with a link to their article about Caffè Terzi after seeing so many of my coffee selfies on Instagram and Twitter.
Also, another great cafe to just sit and relax with a book is Fontanesi Caffe at Piazza Fonanesi in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Have any favorite coffee shops in other cities throughout Italy? Let us know in the comments below!