Ordering coffee in Italy: Our 12 favourites

Coffee in Italy is an art form and there are many more caffeine-enriched beverages to choose from than your standard Americanos, cappuccinos and lattes. But with so many drinks to choose from, many of which may be unfamiliar, it’s difficult to know where to start! Enter Bellarome’s guide to ordering coffee in Italy like a pro!

It is worth pointing out straight away that coffee in Italy is very different to what you find in most UK coffee shops and is typically a small drink rather than the half-pint meals you may be used to. In fact, if you simply order “un caffè” in Italy, you will usually be presented with a short, strong espresso, and if you request “un latte” you will be given a glass of milk and a strange look. It is also generally not common to find alternatives to whole milk, such as skimmed milk or soya, although you can ask (“avete il latte scremato?” means “do you have skimmed milk?” and “avete il latte di soia?” means “do you have soya milk?”).

So, what to order? Here is our selection of the best!

  • Espresso (or simply caffè): a short shot of coffee for an instant energy pick up!
  • Ristretto: only for the brave! This is a very strong, small shot of espresso.
  • Caffè lungo: an espresso but with a little more water.
  • Cappuccino: espresso topped with hot, foamed milk. This is typically drunk at breakfast in Italy and is not a large drink. You may get a “so you’re a tourist” look if you order it in the afternoon.
  • Caffè con cioccolato: this is effectively a cappuccino but it is served with chunky chocolate shavings instead of sprinkled cocoa powder.
  • Caffè corretto: this literally means “coffee corrected”…corrected with a splash of liquor!
  • Caffè schekerato (you may see it written as Caffè shakerato): this is espresso, sugar and ice that has been shaken together and it is typically served in a glass with a sweet foam on top. It looks a little like a Guinness!
  • Caffè estivo: this is decadence in a glass and is espresso served with a lot of cream and foam. The taste of the coffee is consequently much diluted.
  • Caffè macchiato: this translates as “spotted” or “stained” coffee and is espresso with a dash of hot milk (about a teaspoon full). If you want something a little more like a latte, ask for latte macchiato – this is a lot of milk with a splash of espresso.
  • Caffè ginseng: a Bellarome staff favourite and excellent in emergency situations for a turbo-charged energy boost. It is a sweet espresso with the addition of ginseng extract and, usually, a creamer. It is addictive!
  • Caffè marocchino: this is espresso with cacao, giving a delicious chocolately coffee.
  • Orzo: this isn’t actually coffee but it is becoming increasingly popular in Italy and you may see it on the menu. It is actually made from roasted, ground barley and is naturally caffeine-free with a roasted, nutty flavour. It is brewed in an espresso machine in the same way as coffee and most drinks can be substituted with orzo if the bar serves it. It’s a good option if you’d prefer to skip the caffeine!

If you’re truly missing your large coffee then ask for Caffè Americano, which is espresso and hot water. 

Desperate for a caffeine fix Italian-style? Check out our city breaks and package deals on our website - you can even book some packages directly online!

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