Cristian Garcia

Digital Business Strategy

where data and creativity collide

Drink coffee in Italy like an italian


I came to Italy for several reasons:

  • Get an MBA
  • Learn how this guys have built so many - recession-proof companies (from Luxottica to the recent slow food movement).
  • Learn a third language.
  • History
  • Coffee and wine.

Coffee is last but not least on my least on my list. If you know me, then you know I love coffee. I even travel with my milanese moka everywhere and I always have grounded arabica beans in my fridge. Today I got Lavazza Espresso crema e gusto to start the weekend.


Italy its worldwide famous for its coffee, or to be fair, the way the roast it. The European country doesn’t produce coffee, so they acquire it from several sources worldwide (mainly Africa and South-Central America) and then, they roast it like any other nation.

When you come to Italy, you will not find any Starbucks or Costa. Italians hate this “american coffee”, therefore frappuccino, mochacino or frappe are not part of italians vocabulary (it is as unacceptable as having a cappuccino after 11:00 am).

Only in Milan you will find a few places where you can have coffee “the american way”. One of them is Arnold (a milanese small franchise) and maybe California Bakery (another Milanese company). Both nearby Duomo.

So, coffee junkies, how do we manage to get or coffee fix every day? At the bar.

Here, Italians come every morning to have a coffee. The variety is broad and if you truly want to go deeper in the italian culture, then you have to stop by any bar, and get ready to try some delicious coffee.


This post was writte on personal notes + the useful tips coming from the book: “How to order an italian coffee in Italy” by Sara Roso.

Shall we start?

  • Espresso: Served in a “tazzina”. The dark shot of coffee that we all know.
  • Macchiato: A espresso with a dash of hot milk on top. It is not a mini-cappuccino.
  • Macchiato freddo: A espresso served with cold or lukewarm milk on the side.
  • Cappuccino: Probably, the most well known of them all. An espresso with milk and foam milk. Most of the time with a draw on top (or cocoa/chocolate/cinnamon).
  • Marochino: In some parts of Italy also called espressino, americanino or mocacchino. A shot of espresso with sprinkling cacao and milk foam on top. You could also have it with Nutella or chocolate syrup instead of cacao.
  • Latte Macchiato: Milk “stained” with coffee served in a large glass cup.
  • Caffè Correto (my favorite): An espresso in a demitasse cup with liquor. I really like sambuca, but you can also have it with grappa or irish cream.

Variations of espresso:

  • Caffè Doppio: Two shots of espresso served on a tazza grande.
  • Caffè Americano: A shot of espresso with hot water served on a tazza grande as well.
  • Caffè Lungo: Water runs through a filter, resulting on a “long” coffee.
  • Ristretto: Made with less water than a normal espresso. Served on the already known demitasse cup.
  • D’orzo: Made with some sort of cereal. It is not coffee strictly speaking. It is made of Orzo and its decaffeinated.
  • Ginseng: Similar to D’orzo, it is made with powder of ginseng. Curious but not my favorite at all.

Specials types of coffee:

  • Caffè Affogato: Literally, drowned coffee. By sweet, sweet ice-cream.
  • Granita di caffè: Icy coffee famously known in Rome as tazza d’oro. Not easy to found in all of Italy.
  • Caffè Completo: Not in every bar, but when you find it, you will have coffee with whipped cream on top and cacao or nutella on top.
  • Caffè Shakerato: Coffee shaken with sugar and ice. Sometimes they add some Bailey’s irish cream. Ideal for summertime.
  • Bicerin: A Turinese specialty. Hot chocolate, espresso and frothy milk served in a glass, not a cup.
  • Caffè con panna: Espresso with fresh-whipped cream.

Now you want to make it sweet? Sounds good.

  • Zucchero: White refine sugar. Your usual shit.
  • Zucchero di canna: Unrefined cane sugar that is darker and with larger grains.
  • Dolcificante: My favorite shit. I know its bad, damn it! But i like it. Italians call it Dietor as well.
  • Miele: Honey, honey.
  • Cacao: Most of the time, unsweetened cacao.

Most of the bars in Italy work differently than other parts of the world. First you go and pay. Then you present “lo scontrino” and order. You have it standing. Most of the time you just don’t sit.

View coffee roasters all over the world in a larger map

If you are not here, then please don't panic my dearest reader. Go to the supermarket and get:

That’s it. Sounds cool ain’t it? Well, let me tell you that it is. Italians are “bravos” because they have built worldwide reputation working on something they don’t have. This guys really know how to build love-brands and coffee is by far, one of my favourites.

Im going for my moka, I think my cappucho is ready.

Cristian Guajardo Garcia (cc) by-nc-sa | Made in London, UK |  2005 - 2019