What Coffee Do Italians Drink?

What Coffee Do Italians Drink? Italians take coffee seriously – from its sourcing, blending and roasting to its preparation. Even the cup it is served in matters!

You’ll get an odd look if you ask for a grande or venti. In Italy, a caffe is always a short cup.

Milky drinks are only enjoyed in the morning, preferably before 11am. It is considered incompatible with digestion later in the day and is best avoided if possible.


While Italy wasn’t credited with inventing coffee, they certainly perfected it. It’s a central part of Italian culture and a daily ritual. Coffee is usually drunk with breakfast, or as a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up.

Italians drink their coffee in small cups and are often served with a glass of water as well. This helps cleanse the palate and is an important part of the coffee experience. In fact, a caffe isn’t complete without the water!

When it comes to milky coffee, Italians like to have their caffè in the morning. Whether you prefer the froth of cappuccino or latte, or the creamy steamed milk of bicerina (which was popularized in one of Italy’s chocolate cities), it’s a good way to start the day.

Italians also love their sweeter options, such as the granita di café, a chilled coffee shake. In a bar setting, coffee is usually ordered and downed on the go, at the counter (al banco), and is priced accordingly. However, if you sit down at a table and receive waiter service, the price will be higher.

Caffè Doppio

The Doppio, pronounced “DOH-pee-oh,” is an espresso-based drink that is a staple of Italian coffee culture. Unlike many other drinks, espresso is served without milk or sugar in order to enhance and appreciate the flavor of the drink.

This beverage is a double shot of espresso prepared according to standard caffe brew, with a little more water in order to make it smoother. The name originates from the Latin words Dous, Plus, and Pleo which mean double, plus, and large respectively.

For those who prefer their coffee sweeter, a caffè latte is an option. This is basically an espresso with a splash of warmed milk (so it’s the opposite of what Starbucks teaches us). This drink should only be consumed in the morning though!

During the afternoon, an espresso may be enjoyed with a snack. Some Italians also enjoy a cup of coffee after the dessert course. For a stronger pick-me-up, try a caffe doppio or ristretto, which is an espresso with half as much water as the standard caffe.


Cappuccino is a combination of espresso and steamed or frothed milk. Its name comes from the hood of foam that sits on top, which resembles the traditional uniform of the Capuchin monks.

Italians generally drink cappuccino at breakfast. It has a very strong taste compared to other coffee drinks and is very rich. A cup of cappuccino is usually accompanied by a pastry, such as a cornetto or a brioche.

You can also get macchiato, which is just a splash of milk added to an espresso. It can be served hot (macchiato caldo) or cold (macchiato freddo). Macchiatone is an alternative to cappuccino that is popular in the Veneto region.

It is important to remember that in Italy, it is customary to stir the espresso without sugar and not lick the spoon! Also, it is a good idea to sip your espresso slowly and deliberately. This will help you to appreciate the full flavours of each shot. If you are sitting at a bar, don’t forget to ask for your receipt after ordering!

Caffè Macchiato

The Caffè Macchiato is an espresso with a dash of milk. Depending on the drinker it can be hot or cold (macchiato caldo or macchiato freddo). It also may have whipped cream added (macchiato con freddo). The caffè macchiato is one of the most popular coffee drinks in Italy and there are countless variations.

You will probably get some odd looks if you order a milky coffee after about 11 a.m. or after a meal, as Italians believe that a milky drink interferes with digestion.

If you want to try something a bit different, try the granita di caffe. This is a semi-frozen dessert similar to a sorbet but much smoother and with the flavor of espresso. You can eat it with a spoon or serve it as a parfait layered with whipped cream. Then, there is the caffè corretto which is a cup of espresso with a shot of a strong spirit such as grappa, brandy or Sambuca. This is a perfect digestive at the end of a long dinner or a fine lunch.

Caffè Con Panna

Although there are Italians who don’t drink coffee at all, most do at least have one cup of it each day. This could be for breakfast, or after lunch and again after dinner if they need to combat that drowsy feeling of an empty stomach. The milky version of espresso is known as a caffè con panna. A glass of water often accompanies the beverage, and it’s a good idea to order a cup of water first as a way of cleansing your palette after consuming the caffeine.

When ordering a caffè con panna, be sure to ask for it in the bar (cafe) section of the menu. Here you will find many more options for drinks that contain varying amounts of milk. The simplest form is just a shot of espresso with a splash of warmed milk. Be careful not to confuse this drink with a caffe viennoise or Franziskaner (in Vienna), which can be made of brewed coffee instead of espresso and may feature more cream than just the splash.

Latte Macchiato

While Italians love a good milky coffee, they only enjoy it in the morning, not after 11am. They believe that a lot of milk in your stomach for too long is not good for digestion after a meal. They prefer to stick with shots of espresso at this point.

The latte macchiato is a great choice for anyone who wants to enjoy a creamy caffe vita in the morning. This coffee drink combines the best of both worlds – a shot of espresso and some warmed frothed milk. It is a very popular drink among tourists. You can also try a caffè shakerato, which is made with cold milk and served in a cocktail-like feel martini-style glass.

Just be careful when ordering this drink in Italy, as if you say “latte” the barista will most likely give you a simple glass of milk, as the word latte only translates to marked milk in the Italian language. If you want a latte, ask for it to be prepared with a shot of espresso and three fourths frothed milk.

Caffè Latte

Italians drink caffe latte in the same way they enjoy a glass of water. It’s a tradition! Italians believe in the power of coffee to refresh and re-energize. It’s a part of their social life and they love to talk with friends while drinking coffee.

A cup of Caffè Latte usually consists of one shot of espresso mixed with steamed milk and a layer of foamed milk on top. It is served in a 240 mL (8oz) glass or cup. This drink is similar to a cappuccino but without the whipped cream on top. It is the most popular choice amongst world travelers when visiting an Italian coffee bar.

In Italy, Caffè Latte is served “al banco” at the counter and “al tavolo” at a table. The latter implies more service and is usually slightly more expensive.

Unlike Americans, most Italians do not order a Caffè Latte or any other coffee with milk after lunch as it is considered bad for digestion. In the afternoon and evening, a strong black shot of espresso is the best thing to fight the drowsiness and stay alert.

Caffè Ristretto

The caffè ristretto is an espresso that is prepared with a lower water to coffee ratio. This is done so that all of the good qualities are extracted without some of the negative qualities that can come out over a longer extraction time. This is a great way to enjoy a strong cup of coffee that isn’t too acidic.

Italians are not shy with their milk, but they tend to only drink these coffees at certain times of day. A cappuccino is typically reserved for breakfast, while a macchiato should be enjoyed as an afternoon pick me up.

Another popular Italian coffee drink is a caffe shakerato, or simply a iced coffee. This beverage is made by shaking espresso and ice together in a cocktail shaker. This gives the drink a martini-like feel and is perfect for a warm Italian summer! It is often served with a sip of liqueur for added flavour. In the north of Italy, try a caffe anisette for an anise based espresso or in southern Sicilia try a caffè d’un parrinu that is rich with cinnamon, clove, and cocoa flavours.