Anything can happen in an Italian café, besides drinking an espresso.
~ Author Unknown
Prendiamo Un caffè? / Let’s Have A Coffee?
There is always an occassion to prendere un cafe, or take a coffee in Italy. Whether it is breakfast, or a mid-morning break, an after lunch pick-me-up or just because, there are no excuses needed for treating yourself to a cafe in Italy. Ways of taking your coffee are, not only endless, but also an art. So whether you are sipping it standing up at a bar or sitting down at outdoor table, freddo-cold, caldo– hot or decaffeinato– decaffinated, Italy’s favorite brew is always rich and tasty.
Cafès, from inner-city chic to country-side quaint, dot Italy’s cities, villages and roads, so you will always find a place for a sip. And whether you are a caffè aficionado or not, Italy offers a plethora of ways to sip.
Mornings in Italy always begin at il bar, the bar or cafè. Italians line themselves up 3 deep for an espresso or cappuccino. Drinking an espresso is a ritual, not only at breakfast, but anytime in-between. Cafès or bars, as they are sometimes called, are not only a spot for drinking & eating, but also for socializing. A cafè is the social meeting place for everyone.
People are either there to chat, discuss, debate, exchange ideas, close a deal or just to pass the time away. Besides serving coffee, bars also serve fresh-squeezed orange juice, bottled drinks, liqeuers, digestives, wines, water, and soft drinks. Cafes also serve, panini-, grilled sandwiches, pizzette, dolci – desserts, or gelato – ice-cream.
An espresso is the basic and most popular coffee served in Italy. It is served in a demitasse cup and has a creamy chocolate-like layer of foam. An espresso is strong, dark and never bitter. Espresso can be ordered, lungo – long, corto- short or even shorter still –ristretto. Espresso is made by the barista, an official coffee maker who holds the reign at each bar and is master at making it just the right way.
Italian cappuccino is an espresso topped with crema, a thick froth of steamed milk, and cappuccinos are sprinkled with cocoa. Italians drink cappuccinos for breakfast and never after 11am. But ask any barista, and he will be happy to make you a cappuccino any time of day.
The caffè macchiato is an espresso topped with a dollop of steamed milk. Macchiato literally translates to stained, hence, coffee stained with milk. A caffè macchiato is perfect for those who like a little cream with their coffee.
A latte macchiato is hot milk served with a shot of espresso and is served in a glass. A latte macchiato has practically no foam.
The caffè latte, cousin to the cappuccino, is made with steamed milk and a thin layer of foam on top. The caffè latte is served in a glass and not a cup.
Despite its name, the caffè americano is not long, drip-brewed coffee as served in America. Caffè americano is an espresso served in a cup with hot water added.
A caffè Marocchino is an espresso that is served in a glass not a cup, sprinkled with chocolate powder and then topped with steamed milk. It literally translates to Morroccan coffee, but it is not. This chocolate lover’s coffee, served in Florence, Milano and Torino, is so delicious and filling, it should be called a dessert.
As if an espresso was not enough of a jolt, the caffè corretto is an espresso ‘corrected’ with a splash of grappa, an Italian liquor made from grapes, Sambuca, or Limocello.