A small prelude before we dive into the coffee habits in Italy: if you order a latte you will receive a glass of milk. If you’re looking for that milky coffee then remember to ask for either a Caffèlatte (more coffee than milk) or Latte Macchiato (more milk than coffee).
And then there’s espresso, cappuccino, schiumato, macchiato al vetro, lungo, corto, ristretto, affogato, corretto, sprinkled with cinnamon or cacao, marocchino, mokaccino – gosh, who knew so many different coffee types existed ? But the reality of the situation is that most Italians simply head up to the bar counter and ask for a “caffè” , as simple as that. They drink the coffee as a shot, and god forbid if you blow on the coffee to cool it down, and head out to continue with their day.
On another note, in Italy it’s almost a blasphemy to drink cappuccino after 12, especially after lunch. Cappuccinos in our dictionary are limited to breakfast, “inzuppando” or dipping a cornetto, biscuits and, in Genova (only in Genova really) focaccia. This is time time to drink espresso, everyone around the table generally drinks it – but you can imagine the scenes at restaurants for parties of 10/20 ? Everyone generally takes their coffee differently so the waitress always has to remember who takes what: macchiato, one sugar, two sugars, ristretto, lungo, doppio.
Furthermore in Italy, our “cafes” are called “bar“, confusing right? as an Italian you would say “andiamo al bar“. But aside from all of these NBs, coffee for the Italians is a ritual; from a young age we would wake up to the smell oozing out of the moka, slowly sizzling on the gas stove, as Mothers would prepare their morning brew. We would sit there watching our family drink this strong scented drink wondering how on earth they could like such a thing, until one day, we ourselves became addicted.
In Italy, we have seen a recent rise in the opening of specialty coffee bars where you can find filtered coffee and international bean varieties.
So to celebrate this special drink, we have selected our favourite bar in the major Italian cities:
The first Milanese specialty coffee roasters located in Via Solferino. With carefully selected producers around the world, at Cafezal you can taste coffee from over twelve countries. The location itself is very cute, well designed, intimate and, while you’re at it, taste one of the sublime pastries freshly baked every morning. WEBSITE
Orso Laboratorio CaffÈ, Torino
Orso Laboratorio Caffè is a special place for coffee lovers in Turin. Here you’re welcomed into a journey of all senses, from the sound of the roasted coffee beans to the scent of the aromas as it’s poured into a cup, the heat on your fingertips as you pick up your drink and the strong taste as you take your first sip. This is how coffee should be, no more, no less; a path that begins with the origins, on the other side of the world where small coffee producers cultivate their lands according to Fair Trade and ends right there, in your hands, every day. Here taste the specialty coffee from Indonesia, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Mexico and many more in a cosy, welcoming environment. WEBSITE
Torrefazione Cannaregio, Venezia
Since 1930 Torrefazione Cannareggio has kept its name as the first and only artisanal coffee roaster in the historical centre of Venice. An rustic, wooden cove where you sit among sacks of jute and packs of coffee beans, tasting some exceptional single origin or blends that are also available to purchase. On the menu are many alternatives to the espresso, such as an iced granita for the warmer days or filtered coffee that you can enjoy with a side of homemade biscuits. WEBSITE
Gamberini 1907, BolognA
Gamberini 1907 is the most historical café in Bologna located under the iconic porticoes near the Mercato delle Erbe. Here there’s an all-day concept that begins in the morning with freshly baked pastries, continues through to lunch with a light, bistrôt menu, followed by afternoon tea with an all day offering of pastries and patisserie, light lunches, aperitif and late night cocktails. WEBSITE
Ditta Artigianale, Firenze
Ditta Artigianale is a true place of worship for coffee lovers, not surprisingly located in the former monastery of Sant’Ambrogio. The religious respect for this beverage is reflected in the absence of sugar at the tables: no additions are required to enjoy coffee. The café’s owner Francesco Sanapo was raised brewing cappuccinos behind the counter at his family’s bar, and eventually became an award-winning connoisseur, a devotee of the raw material. This café offers you a unique way to enjoy your Italian-style break by enrapturing you with its overwhelming aromas and picture-perfect design. WEBSITE
Faro – Luminaries of Coffee, Roma
Faro is located in the Rione Sallustiano near Porta Pia, just outside Villa Borghese park. Here you can savour exceptional single origin and blends made by their very own Aliena Coffee Roasters. It’s a fun, young and hip space where the design and the offering is contemporary – the kind you would find in the coolest European hubs. Alongside your favourite coffee (and of course lactose alternatives are available) taste their exceptional cruffins (for those who don’t know its a mix between a muffin and a croissant), laminated swirls or, when in Rome, a Maritozzo. WEBSITE
The Florist Bar, Napoli
The Florist Bar is a wonderful concept in Naples that aims to regenerate the city through the preservation of native plants. It was conceived by Landscape Architect Stefania Salvetti who, following a series of experiences in European countries returned to Naples and fell in love with the Paradisiello district – a corner of green nestled in this urban city. It is here where Stefania opens The Florist Bar, aiming to promote urban agriculture as well as offering a space to enjoy wholesome, healthy homemade bites and a cup of coffee. WEBSITE
Andy Havlík Patisserie, Bari
Down in Puglia is this exceptional gem where Pastry Chef Andy Havlík brings his work experience in France to the south of Italy. A pastel coloured outlet where attention to detail is the utmost impressive; a superb display of viennoiserie in all of their declensions: croissant, éclaire, madeleine, pain suisse, babka, danish and many more baked freshly every morning. Even the coffee is taken that one step further; you can taste turmeric latte, matcha latte and beetroot latte. Who said south of Italy is still behind? WEBSITE
In the early 20th century Giovanni Stagnitta dedicated his life to importing exotic blends and producing excellent coffee. This family business has been successfully running since, and today three sisters: Daniela, Marilù, and Stefania have taken the reigns. Of course an espresso is required to taste the true flavours but, when in Sicily, don’t miss out on a coffee flavoured granita and brioche. WEBSITE