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In addition to knowing ‘how‘ to order coffee at a bar in Italy (you place your order, obtain a scontrino (receipt) and then pick up your order when ready), it is also necessary to know ‘what‘ coffee to order.  If you make the all too common mistake of ordering a latte you will receive a glass of warm milk that is not at all representative of the aromatic brew served at  Starbucks as well as a very quizzical look from the barista.

The national coffee of Italy is an espresso.  It is usually served in a small glass cup (no styrofoam) and filled to less than half.  The crema on top lets you know its the real deal. And contrary to what you might think, espresso has less caffeine than regular coffee.

Caffe’ Corto is a smaller coffee (corto meaning short) that is a potent brew which concentrates the flavor of the coffee and packs the same punch as an espresso.  It is sometimes referred to as a Caffe’ Ristretto.  To up the ampage on any of these coffees, just ask for a Doppio (double).

Caffe’ Lungo (long) is closing in on the American version of coffee as there is more of it, although it is served in the same small size cup.  If none of these Italian style coffee suits you can always request a Caffe’ Americano.

To jazz things up or for an even bigger punch you can request a Caffe’ Corretto.  You guessed it, ‘correct coffee’.  However this coffee is served with a liquor.  As if the caffeine rush was not emough……

Caffe’ Macchiato is also served in a small cup but with a ‘stain‘ (macchiato) of frothy milk.

And let’s not forget the ubiquitous Cappucino that is served primarily at breakfast but not after 11 in the morning.  Order one of these frothy, milky drinks in the afternoon and you will assure your reputation as a ‘tourista’.

What has been your experience ordering a coffee in Italy?  Here’s a short video of a caffe’ challenged Dustin Hoffman.  Divertirsi!


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