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Coffee in Italy


Coffee in Italy

Bars in Italy offer an enormous number of possible permutations for a way of having a cup of coffee. What you won’t get, however, is 100 different types of bean; nor will you find “gourmet” coffees. If you like that kind of stuff, better take your own. A bar will make coffee from a commercial blend of beans supplied by just one roaster. There are many companies who supply roast beans and the brand used is usually prominently displayed both inside and outside of the bar. You can take you coffee as follows:
  • Caffè or Caffè Normale or Espresso. This is the basic unit of coffee, normally consumed after a meal.
  • Caffè ristretto. This has the same amount of coffee, but less water, thus making it stronger.
  • Caffè lungo. This is the basic unit of coffee but additional water is allowed to go through the ground coffee beans in the machine.
  • Caffè americano. This has much more water and is served in a cappuccino cup. It is more like an American breakfast coffee but the quantity is still far less than you would get in the States.
  • So far so good. But here the permutations begin. For the same price as a normal coffee, you can ask for a dash of milk to be added to any of the above. This is called macchiato. Hence, caffè lungo macchiato or caffè americano macchiato. But that dash of milk can be either hot (caldo) or cold (freddo). So you can ask, without the barman batting an eye, for a caffè lungo macchiato freddo or a caffè Americano macchiato caldo. Any one of these options can also be had decaffeinated. Ask for caffè decaffeinato. The most popular brand is HAG and it is quite usual to ask for caffè HAG even if the bar does not use that particular brand. If you are really in need of a pick-me-up you can ask for a double dose of coffee, or a doppio. You have to specify this when you pay at the cash register and it costs twice as much as a normal coffee. All the above permutations still apply, although a caffè doppio ristretto may be a bit strange. Additionally, if you need a shot of alcohol, you can ask for a caffè corretto. This usually involves adding grappa, brandy or sambuca; "corrected" being the Italian expression corresponding to "spiked". Normally it is only a plain coffee that is corrected but there is no reason why you should not correct any of the above combinations. Then there are coffee drinks with milk, as follows:
  • Cappuccino. Needs no introduction. If you don’t like the froth you can ask for cappuccino senza schiuma.
  • Caffè latte. Often served in a glass, this is a small amount of coffee with the cup/glass filled up with hot milk.
  • Latte macchiato. This is a glass of milk with a dash of coffee in the top. The milk can be hot or cold.
  • Finally, in the summer you can have caffè freddo, which is basically plain coffee with ice, "caffè freddo shakerato" (shaked ice coffee) or cappuccino freddo, which is a cold milky coffee without the froth. This list is by no means exhaustive. With a vivid imagination and a desire to experiment you should be able to find many more permutations. Enjoy!

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    Italy Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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