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Hello all,
Gosh, I have read conflicting advice/info about how to order coffee in Italy.
Is there a definitive written resource about ordering coffee/food? The website for "Ron In Rome" seems to be down and I understand this is a good resource.

Does it boil down to Cappuccino till 11:00am and Macchiato after through dinner?
I enjoy some milk in all coffee.

Thanks for any info.

Posted by
971 posts

Traditionally yes, but drink what you enjoy. You are a tourist and can't be expected to follow every culinary tradititon.
If any Italians are offended, then put some cheese on seafood just for good measure.

Posted by
2526 posts

Like Morten's post. Worry less and enjoy more...and I love cappuccino even after 11:00AM. :)

Posted by
518 posts

Here in Chinatown I've seen many non-locals/non-Chinese pouring soy sauce all over their food and while we scoff at or are appalled by that sort of thing, if that's how they like to eat it and they enjoy it, then have at it!

Posted by
21722 posts

Just remember - only two styles of coffee - espresso and cappuccino. Everything else was invented by Starbucks.

Posted by
13085 posts

Not true. Our local Seattle coffee company ( Starbucks) may be guilty of many things, but they did not invent all the iterations of coffee. In particular the macchiato, which is Italian.

And they copied the Flat White from Australia. We were Downunder when that happened.

Posted by
4694 posts

Just don't order a "latte". Did that in the 90's and realized my mistake when the barista looked at me strangely and then brought me a glass of milk. I was too embarrassed to tell him that I really meant a "caffe latte".

Posted by
5865 posts

In most places you can get away with looking at a menu and ordering from that. A menu decoder or app will help with terms you do not know, but if they are not swamped with customers, they will be patient with you.

The exception might be a very busy coffee bar. There you usually stand in line then get to a register, order (know what you want, there is a line behind you) then take the ticket to the bar and hand it to a barrista. Point is, you do need to know the etiquette or be able to figure it out quickly.

But as I said, the alternative is to find a smaller less busy place, or a chain coffee place.

Posted by
27743 posts

a "chain coffee place"? In Italy? What's that? McDonalds?

Posted by
5865 posts

Well, soon they will have Starbucks, but yes there are some more restaurant/fast food type places where coffee is more a menu option and less crowded.

Posted by
1345 posts

The best meal I had in Italy was in a small local restaurant in a working suburb of Milan. It was only open in the evening. At the end of the meal the waiter offered coffees. The first on his list was cappuccino.

Most people will not mind what coffee you drink if you have a coffee.

Posted by
16 posts

If you are coffee person, i would say, go crazy for coffee in Italy. i did. Our tour guide told us that the italians don't order cappuccino after noon. But i didn't care much. I'm just visiting and i love coffee, especially the cappuccino in that cute small cup.
As Laura mentioned, don't just ask "Latte", you will get a glass of milk and some confusing looks. Caffe Latte will do.

Posted by
4470 posts

Google "how to order coffee in Italy" and there's some comprehensive listings. I've never had a bad cup of coffee in Italy - just needed to get used to the smaller sized cups.

Posted by
518 posts

Here in the SF Bay Area (and I'm guessing in many other places Stateside) there are more and more boutique coffee shops, many of whom roast their beans on site. The shops usually offer limited food as most of the focus is on their coffee and more specifically, the beans. These shops tend to provide a great deal of transparency and information with regards to the beans' country of origin, varietal, name of farm, elevation grown, date roasted, and so on. I imagine that most people probably can't taste the difference between beans from one farm vs. another but the idea is the transparency and knowing what you're getting and where it came from and many do agree that there is a big difference between the taste of beans roasted within the past several days and those roasted three months ago. Have any of you experienced this same sort of coffee culture in Italy? Or is the focus more on the service, technique in preparation, the setting, and the physical experience of being there, and less of a focus on the coffee beans?

Posted by
3491 posts

KC,

Unfortunately, not true at least in the parts of the country I hang out. The last "local" coffee shop in my neighborhood closed about a year ago and I really miss them. They served a Hawaiian coffee that came from the owner's own farm on the big island ($8 a large serving, but worth every penny!) in addition to several varieties that Starbucks can't even dream about. Meanwhile, at least a dozen Starbucks have opened and all have lines out the door.

Most of the coffee culture I experienced in Italy was that there is a coffee bar in every restaurant and on every corner of every town. They all serve the basic espresso for €1.10 (price controlled by law) if you don't sit down. And every cup was excellent.

Posted by
10056 posts

FWIW it is a myth that Italians do not drink cappuccino after noon. They will indeed order one later in the afternoon, well after lunch, and to drink without food. Never after dinner though.

Posted by
13508 posts

I'm very late here, sorry, but it's a favorite subject. :O)

We LOVE Italian cappuccino and have ordered it at all times of the day (excepting after dinner) without having a single waiter or barista faint dead away. It's a twice-daily routine for resting the feet, using the facilities, and doing a little people watching.

And ooh, china cups with (usually) a wee biscuit on the side? Oh-so civilized!