Another coffee question

I've been reading several of the coffee posts, and hubby is going to take a few Starbuck's packets with him for first thing in the morning; but we were wondering if someone could tell us the terminology for ordering in Italy and Germany that will get him something close to his normal morning cup of coffee with cream? I believe I've seen to order cafe' crème in France.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4764 posts

You can just order a cup of coffee and they give you milk or cream to put in it. In Germany a "milch Kaffee", will be about half milk, half coffee. Not sure if that is what you mean though.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
672 posts

I'm sorry to lecture you, but as Rick would say, one of the reasons for traveling is that the coffee IS different! I first had cappuchino in Italy in 1986, before Starbucks served their burnt-tasting muck anywhere yet. Because I was on business, I took a sleeve of "Greek" paper coffee cups and lids the next time. When I said "... da portare via", they looked at me like I'd grown an antenna from Mars. Why would anyone want to pass up a china cup and the delightful companionship of the stand-up coffee bar in Reggio nel' Emiglia? Because we like Latte's, we've ordered Caffe Russe in several countries, which comes in a tall glass. If you are staying in massive chain hotels, you'll have no problem getting dull American coffee from a 50-cup urn. Will hubby settle for what World Domination Coffee calls an "Americano"?

Posted by Bryan Cribbs
Urbana, IL, USA
7 posts

Ordering a caffè in Italy is going to get you what we call an espresso. A caffè americano will get you the closest thing. I don't know how to ask for cream because I drink it black. @Tim of course you are right, but for some of us, the morning coffee ritual precedes enjoying these differences.

Posted by Paula
Montrose, CO, USA
21 posts

We aren't staying in chain hotels. Just because he wants his coffee means we are staying in large chain hotels? Aw, come now! Does no good to lecture me, anyway, since I don't drink coffee! Can't stand the stuff. Give me some English Breakfast tea...but that's another question entirely. Hubby is willing to try different coffees, but wants one cup of what he likes in the morning, if possible. He doesn't particularly love Starbucks, but thinks Denny's is good, and McDonald's is okay. He doesn't use sugar but likes real cream or Irish creme creamer. Actually he uses coconut milk most of the time, and at home usually drinks Peet's or Seattle's Best, fairly strong, but not too bitter.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8755 posts

The difficulty will be the cream. Rare, very rare. Milk yes, not cream usually. In Italy you can have Panna, but that is whipped cream. Have a look at Ron in Rome's excellent primer on Italian coffee, now sadly missing the cartoon ;-(

Posted by Joan
Gettysburg, PA, USA
170 posts

If your husband is a real coffee lover, I think he will find the coffee in Germany to be excellent. Just order Kaffee. It will come with a small pitcher of Kaffee Sahne (coffee cream) which is somewhat like our evaporated milk. That may take a little getting used to.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
611 posts

I've consumed excellent coffee throughout Europe and also experienced crappy versions as well. Oh, and can it be that over 1,500 Starbucks shops in Europe are only patronized by non-Europeans?

Posted by George
Canada
823 posts

Bruce, I agree with your comment on Starbucks but I also think that the franchise is a huge magnet for North American tourists because of menu familiarity, English will be spoken, and free WiFi - i.e. known commodity.

Posted by Paula
Montrose, CO, USA
21 posts

Joan, can you give me an idea of how topronounce that? Or I guess I can write it down.

Posted by Joan
Gettysburg, PA, USA
170 posts

Pronounced kah-fay. If you just say coffee, most everyone will understand.
The cream is kah-fay sah-nay

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

There are McDonalds' all over, if it comes to that.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2696 posts

Hi, I agree that the Kaffee in Germany is excellent. What comes with it is sweetened condensed milk. Sometimes it is more like evaporated milk esp in the hotels.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17777 posts

Paula, I doubt that your husband will need his Starbuck's coffee, as your hotels will serve good coffee with breakfast. In some cases this will be drip coffee as you're used to, and in other cases they'll give a choice between Café Americano, Cappuccino or whatever. As the others have said, Café Americano is about the closest you'll find to the coffee that's served on this side of the pond. I doubt that you'll find "Irish Creme creamers", and I'm not sure about Cream as I normally drink my coffee black. The most likely solution would be to order "con Latte" (with milk). He'll probably find that the coffee in Italy is a BIG improvement over Starbucks, McDonalds, Dennys or Seattle's Best. If he's "adventurous", he could try Caffé Corretto, which comes with a shot of Grappa or other liqueur. For an excellent description of Coffees in Italy, have at look at the outstanding Ron In Rome website. One other point to mention. I've been finding that an increasing number of hotels in Europe are using machines for making coffee for breakfasts. This was especially true when I was in Spain in June but also at one of the hotels I used in Munich last year. In many cases each cup is made with freshly ground coffee, so it's surprisingly good. Happy travels!

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9130 posts

At your hotel breakfast in Germany, they will usually give you a pitcher of plain black coffee, with a small pitcher of condensed milk. The coffee is usually stronger and thicker than the typical American version, but not nearly as strong as espresso. If the cream is not to your husband's liking, he can always go to a grocery store (assuming your room has a refrigerator). Look for "Kuchenrahm" or "Kuchensahne". "Schlagrahm" or "Schlagsahne" is heavy whipping cream. BTW- Because coffee is heavily taxed in Germany, you have to ask the waiter to bring you some at breakfast. It isn't self-serve at the breakfast bar.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8755 posts

can it be that over 1,500 Starbucks shops in Europe are only patronized by non-Europeans? Well perhaps not many people overall patronize the chain. After all, they have said that they have never made a profit in the UK, and pay no tax, and they have reported similar lacks of profits elsewhere in Europe. It is either clever bookkeeping and dodging the tax man ... or nobody likes them.

Posted by Joan
Gettysburg, PA, USA
170 posts

I have never been served sweetened condensed milk with coffee in Germany. The cream is, as stated, more like evaporated milk. At breakfast, the waiter will always ask if you want coffee or tea and there is frequently also a self-service coffee machine with several choices, e.g., espresso, filter, etc.
To everyone, just enjoy your coffee in Europe wherever and however it comes. It's generally very good.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
711 posts

My husband is a straight up coffee drinker (like Paula, I dislike coffee...comes from working at Tim Horton's years ago...lol)...none of that 'fancy' stuff for him. Why? Who knows...he's nuts. Anyways, after a few days of hit and miss coffee, he was never so glad to see a McD's (in Italy)! He tried ordering what people recommend asking for when trying to get an American (or Canadian) style coffee without much luck (to his liking). So I have backup Maxwell House singles (like a tea bag, but with coffee)...if he's in a pinch, that'll do him.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

"Caffe Americano" in Italy is close to what we are used to in the USA. It is better than most restaurant coffee. A shot of expresso with added hot water is what it is. To avoid this problem, I just drink cappuccino in Italy.

Posted by Paula
Montrose, CO, USA
21 posts

Thanks, everyone. I'm sure the evaporated milk will work just fine in Germany...he's not real picky about the creamer. ( He even does fine with the fake powder stuff.) I'll show him all this info about what to try in Paris and Italy. And will check out the website mentioned.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17777 posts

Paula, Your husband should be able to get his "fix" of Starbucks coffee in Germany, but there are no Starbucks (or other foreign coffee chains) in Italy so he'll have to enjoy the local specialties.

Posted by Paula
Montrose, CO, USA
21 posts

Thanks. I should have said that it isn't that we are particularly looking for Starbucks. He doesn't usually go there, but was told that their packets are pretty good if you're looking for an instant. He has also used the Maxwell House coffees that look like tea bags for steeping in hot water. We are anxious to try local specialties but looking for guidance for that first wake-up cup. A couple of family members who've been to Europe were warning him that the coffee was going to be different, so I was just trying to ask what he should order that might be something similar that he would like. I think that some of our hotels will have a kettle and maybe a balcony so we can enjoy our coffee and tea before we get out and about. Most will have breakfast areas, too. From perusing the article on Ron in Rome, we think cappuccino and caffe' lungo and caffe' latte may just do the trick. Now I'm off to check out Ron in Rome's gelato post! ;)

Posted by Shelley
Trenton, Ontario, Canada
298 posts

Paula Yes there is nothing like a good cup of coffee to get you going for the day. Hubby & I thought we had aced good java in our home until we had the Italian cappuccino - we are heading there again next May and cannot wait for our "Cap". It is one of the pleasures we look forward to. Tell your hubby to give it a try-guaranteed he will never look back. The Kaffe in Germany is good too but cannot beat Italy's.
Good Luck and most important have fun.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
633 posts

Like your husband, my wife and I love our morning coffee. Like most people we looked for what we are familiar with and "Cafe Americana" is the closest. We also found many Starbucks and McD's. After a little while something strange happened. We started enjoying the Italian style coffee and ordered Capuccinos (a morning drink) and learned to order Espresso after desert. When we got back home we ended up getting an Espresso machine. Turns out the Italians know more about good coffee than we do. The big lesson was we enjoyed traveling more by experiencing what was there than by looking for what we are used to back home. This applied to all aspects of our trip.

Posted by Thomas
Vienna, Austria
502 posts

Forget Caffe Americano, try Pizza Americana! http://www.jaunted.com/story/2008/6/28/20414/6339/travel/Pizza+Americana%3A+Says+Who%3F Ugly travel secret: I tried Pizza Americana in Geneva once. It was gooood. But a bit too decadent to eat more than once. As for the coffee, asking for a Caffe Americano will get you an approximation of what you want all over the continent. I occasionally order a caffe Americano here in Vienna and get a good cup of coffee. Although I'm more normally a "melange" man in the morning (sort of like a Viennese capucino) and a espresso guy after lunch. My wife has finally come around to espresso and now considers it a civilized dessert...with a little sugar stirred in. Starbucks: almost spooky how exactly they've captured the North American experience. Not only tourists go there: they are very popular with the young twenties crowd. Normally I'm in favour of jumping in and doing things the European way when you are traveling through Europe... But I think the first cup of coffee in the morning is a good example where the exception proves the rule. Go for it! Have a great trip!

Posted by Denny
Columbus, OH, USA
733 posts

We enjoy trying the local favorites and always do, but after several weeks I miss nothing from home except my mug of good old Folger's. We drink our coffee black but not strong. I learn how to ask for a large cup, please, half black, half hot water. It may elicit a puzzled expression but it does the job for our tastes. And FWIW, when we started traveling to Europe and Israel in the early seventies, the code word for American style coffee was "Nescafé". Not sure that would work anymore.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17777 posts

@Denny, I've been served Nescafé even on more recent trips, a practice that I find mildly annoying since they're charging "freshly made" prices for it. One of the places I was served instant cr@p was a somewhat "high end" restaurant on Capri. For some odd reason, a small number of people in Europe consider Nescafé to be "gourmet coffee". I detest instant coffee but will choke it down if there's nothing else available. Cheers!