Italian Coffee Types: Everyone Likes it Differently!
Feeling overwhelmed by the numerous Italian Coffees?
Drinking coffee in Italy is an art and a cultural tradition, and indeed, everyone likes it differently.
In this article, I will show you the most common types of Italian coffee you can order in restaurants and bars to help you learn the differences and deciding which one is for you.
Once you’ll have read this guide, you’ll be a master connoisseur of the Italian “Buon caffè” (good coffee) and you’ll be able to order coffee in Italy without any randomness or dread.
May the caffeine be with you!
Let’s Dive Right In Italian Coffees!
20 Types of Italian Coffee Served in Italy
With its 25ml of concentrated flavor, the Caffè Espresso is the standard in Italy and the building block of most of the others coffee variations. In brief: it’s the king of Italian Coffees!
Perfect on the go, for a small break, or after a meal, Espresso is the coffee Italians love and drink most.
As a tourist, you should be aware that simply ordering “a coffee” will get you an Espresso.
Often happens that foreigners, used to long American Coffees, are initially disappointed by the Expresso’s tiny size. Most they change mind though, the moment they savor its profound taste and bitter character.
The standard price for an expresso, is 1 Euro.
2. Caffè Ristretto (Short Espresso Coffee)
The Caffè Ristretto is an even smaller type of expresso where the aroma and taste of the coffee are extracted from the grains and concentrated in the tiniest Coffee you can have in Italy.
A tiny cup that packs a punch!
3. Caffè Doppio Espresso (Double Espresso Coffee)
Put together two Espresso in one cup, and you get a Doppio Espresso (double Expresso).
This is the coffee for those that feel that Espresso is too much of a brief moment, or that simply feel they need a double dose of caffeine to go through their day.
The Espresso Doppio is a longer coffee that keeps the same caffeine concentration of an Espresso.
4. Decaffeinato (no-caffeine Italian Coffee)
If caffeine is not your thing, also in Italy you can always find decaffeinated coffee: just order a Caffè Decaffeinato.
Note that although very low on caffeine, there is no coffee entirely deprived of caffeine. If you’re intolerant or especially sensitive to it, I suggest you to switch to 100% caffeine-free Italian wine 😉
5. Caffè Macchiato Caldo (Espresso Coffee with a Spot of Milk)
Caffè Espresso is the standard, but not everyone likes its strong bitterness.
For those people, it comes in helping its most common variation: the Caffè Macchiato Caldo. Simply put, the macchiato coffee is a drink that joints the intense aroma of the espresso blend with the creaminess of a drop of hot whipped milk.
Considered by now one of the great classics of the Italian bar breakfast, despite its apparent simplicity, to prepare a perfect macchiato coffee takes a lot of practice and extreme precision.
On your journey through Italy, you might find tiny-big artists of the macchiato coffee picturing images in your cup that can truly change your day.
6. Caffè Macchiato Freddo (same Coffee, but now the milk is cold!)
Same as the classic Caffè Macchiato, but with an extra step.
A Caffè Macchiato Freddo (cold Macchiato) is an Espresso with the addition of cold whipped milk (cooled on ice just before putting it in the glass).
7. Caffè d’Orzo (Barley Italian Coffee)
The Caffè d’Orzo is a barley-based alternative for traditional coffee.
The origin of this product dates back to the Second World War: in that difficult situation, in fact, the cost of the classic coffee skyrocketed becoming practically impossible to find and so Italians turned to barley to produce a similar-tasting beverage.
Today the Caffè d’Orzo remains a popular beverage in Italy for caffeine-intolerants and children.
8. Caffè Corretto (Italian Coffee with Spirit!)
The Caffè Corretto is one of the most iconic Italian Coffees. Normally you would drink it after a big meal or in the late afternoon, usually together with a good piece of cake.
Strictly for adults only, the Caffè Corretto is prepared by adding a strong alcoholic beverage to a simple Espresso. The most common additions are Grappa, Sambuca, and Bayles, but you can also find more creative alternatives such as Rum and Whiskey.
In many authentic Italian bars, the house will serve you the bottle and you will have to pour the alcohol yourself to choose the quantity of alcohol you want to add to your coffee.
9. Caffè Freddo (Iced Italian Coffee)
The Caffè Freddo (or “cold coffee in English”) is especially popular during the hottest summer days.
If you ask for one, you will normally get a standard coffee and a glass of ice.
Before drinking it, wait a few moments for the coffee to cool down to ambient temperature, then pour it on top of the ice and enjoy.
10. Caffè Bon Bon (an International Import)
The Caffè Bon Bon is a coffee originally born in Spain, which made its way to Italy and rapidly gained popularity.
The Bon Bon Coffee is made by slowly adding condensed sweetened milk to an Espresso in transparent glass and it’s characterized by three colourful and well-defined layers that are customarily stirred together before consumption.
The Cappuccino is another one of the most popular and classic Italian coffees. It consists of an espresso-based coffee with steamed milk foam added on top, served normally in cups of 180ml or smaller.
Italians normally drink Capuccino for breakfast (often paired with a sweet cornetto croissant) but not afterward, preferring other kinds of coffee for the rest of the day. Also the Capuccino, like the Macchiato, is often decorated with cute latte art drawings that gift a smile.
12. Caffè Marocchino (despite its name, it’s an Italian Coffee, not from Marocco)
The Marocchino is a traditional Italian coffee that suscitates a lot of curiosity because of its name: why is it named after Marocco? Do people in Marocco drink coffee in this way? Probably not. Nobody truly knows.
According to Italian belief, this typology of coffee was created in Alessandria, Italy.
The Marocchino is made by putting together a long expresso, chocolate syrup, steamed milk foam, and a spray of dark chocolate powder on top.
Of course, as with many other types of Italian coffees too, the exact recipe can slightly change from region to region: in some parts of Italy chocolate syrup is not used, in some others, even Nutella is used instead!
13. Cappuccino Matcha (the “strange one” between Italian Coffees)
The most non-Italian coffee-like drink that you can get in Italy.
The Matcha is a fine variety of green tea original of Asia which made its way into the western world at the end of the last century and which, to the surprise of many, it became more and more accepted also in Italy (mainly in the most visited international cities).
The Capuccino Matcha is a re-visited version of the classic Capuccino in which, instead of the coffee, Matcha is used and mixed with the steamed milk foam.
14. Caffè con Panna (Coffee with Whipped Cream)
Caffè with Panna is as simple as it gets: Caffè (Coffee, normally long espresso) and Panna (Whipped Cream).
Perfect for those that want to accompany the bitterness of the coffee with a spray of sweet pleasure, it can be topped with a touch of cocoa chocolate.
15. Caffè Affogato (Ice-cream drowned in Italian Coffee)
The Caffè Affogato (in English: the “drowned” coffee) is a sin of throat that never tires and that always leads to temptation.
Making it is extremely simple: it simply consists in a ball of gelato (ice cream) in a cup, over which is poured a shower of Espresso Coffee.
Depending on the Italian region you are in, chocolate or nuts liquor may also be thrown into the mix: in one word, heaven!
16. Caffè al Ginseng
Another popular coffee option widely available in Italy that finds its roots in the Asian continent: literally!
Ginseng is indeed an invigorating, energizing and digestive root considered an almost-universal remedy for sicknesses in various Asian cultures.
Italians took this plant and, by mixing it with dark coffee, created the Caffè al Ginseng, a healthier alternative to traditional coffee that is believed to cure stress and fatigue, one of the most modern variations of Italian Coffees you can find.
17. Mocaccino (Capuccino, Cream and Warm Chocolate)
The Mocaccino (or mokaccino) is a hot drink consisting of cappuccino (that remember, is long espresso with steamed-milk foam), cream, and warm chocolate; sometimes it comes also sprayed with cocoa powder.
The Mokaccino is different from Caffè Macchiato (which does not have chocolate), from cappuccino (which has only cocoa), and also from the Marocchino (which adds milk cream and cocoa powder to the coffee).
Your head is spinning, right? Just imagine what it might feel like being a waiter taking coffee orders from a group of Italians! 😉
One last note for the mocaccino: it is normally served in transparent glass to enhance its attractive 3-layered structure. It is truly the “fashion star” between Italian Coffees!
18. Macchiatone (the Coffee for the Picky Italians)
Brace yourself, now it is getting VERY complicated.
It is not a latte, it is not a coffee, nor a latte macchiato and it is not even a cappuccino: the Macchiatone combines some characteristics of all these drinks, but it has its own well-defined identity and personality.
Macchiatone is a coffee that we could describe as “more than a macchiato, but less than a cappuccino” as it is made with a long espresso to which is added a moderate quantity of creamed milk (more than a drop, less than half of the cup – normally around 20ml).
Yes, Italians are damn fussy when it comes to their coffees!
19. Caffelatte (Coffee and Milk)
If you’re head is smoking, you’ll be happy to give a break to your brain and discover the Caffelatte.
This drink is simple as its name: Caffè (Coffe) and Latte (Milk). The ratio coffee-milk is the same as with Cappuccino, but in Caffelatte there is no creamed milk nor foam.
It can be drank both warm and cold and normally it is served in a large transparent glass.
20. Latte Macchiato (Milk stained with Coffee)
If Cafè Macchiato (in English “stained coffee”) is Coffe with a drop of milk, I think you can now guess what is Latte Macchiato: indeed, the exact opposite.
Latte Macchiato is a glass of whipped milk (usually 130ml) “stained” by an Espresso. The drink is characterized by a thick white foam on top and the colours of coffee and milk fading into each other in the middle part of the glass.
Given the high amount of milk, this is one of the most caloric Italian coffees alternatives we have seen until now.
21. Caffè Shakerato (the coffee cocktail!)
The Caffè Shakerato is a post-meal coffee variations that is normally drank during the hot Italian summer and that is prepared with a mixer, exactly like a cocktail.
The ingredients for a Caffè Shakerato are three: a long expresso, ice cubes and liquid cane sugar.
The coffee is prepared by simply throwing all the ingredients in the shaker, giving them an energic mix, and pouring them in a conical glass through the strainer.
The profile of the Shakersto is composed by two layers: the cold sweetened coffee on the bottom and a thin layer of Capuccino-like foam on top. It can also be sprayed with cocoa.
21. Italian Coffees – Additions
Italian coffee traditions are strong, but even stronger is the principle that says “to each one its own!“.
If you want to customize your coffee, there is no shame in doing it, just ask the waiter for anything extra you want in your drink:
- Sugar (Zucchero)
- Cacao (Cocoa Powder)
- Panna Montata (Whipped Cream)
- Latte Freddo (Cold Milk)
- Latte Caldo (Hot Milk)
22. Italian Coffees – Tiny Curiosity: The Moka!
One thing that foreigners often don’t know, is that all the coffee used to prepare all kinds of coffees seen before, is either prepared with a Moka or an Espresso Machine.
The Moka, is a coffee machine designed by the Italian company Bialetti in 1933 which works by being place on a gas stove flame (modern ones work with induction stoves too!) 🙂
Here, trust me: every Italian has a Moka in its house, really…EVERYONE! ;D
That’s the most common way of preparing coffee at home in Italy.
The Espresso Machine is found instead in bars and restaurants, and it’s an electric countertop appliance that brews hot coffee automatically. It consists of a hot plate, a carafe or glass coffee pot, filter basket, and water reservoir.
These are the two accepted ways Italian make coffee, with instant coffee being only a fall-back solution for coffee addicts without a bar nearby.
If you would like to know how to make coffee without a coffee machine, then you should definitely look elsewhere… in Italy, we are very strict about coffee making! ;D
Conclusion – Italian Coffee Types: How to Order a Coffee in Italy
This was a guide to the most popular types of Italian Coffees that you can order in Italy and by now, you should be equipped with enough knowledge to confidently order coffee in Italy as a true Italian would do.
Of course, by no means this list was an exhaustive list of ALL Italian coffees you can find in Italy as depending on the region you’re visiting, you could find many less known coffee alternatives and little differences in the preparation of all of the previous.
But those, we will leave them a surprise 😉
Have a good Trip!
If you want to know more about Italian Coffee Culture and deepen your knowledge into Coffee History and Customs, I suggest you to check out this in-depth article from Rossiwrites Blog.
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As always, thanks for reading, and see you in the next article! 🙂
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