Saturday, December 2, 2023

Coffee Connoisseurs Beware: Why Ordering a Latte in Italy Could Be a Mistake

by Mads

Why not to order latte in Italy?

As a coffee connoisseur, you know that coffee culture varies from country to country. And in Italy, ordering a latte might not be the best choice. Here’s why:

In Italy, “latte” means “milk.” If you order a latte, you’ll get a glass of milk – not the espresso drink you’re used to. To get a latte as you know it, you’ll need to order a “caffè latte.”

But even if you order a caffè latte, you might not get what you expect. Italian caffè latte is different from the version you might get at your local coffee shop. It’s a much larger drink, with a ratio of about 1/3 espresso to 2/3 steamed milk. And it’s typically served in a glass, not a mug.

So, if you’re looking for the classic rich espresso taste, you might be better off ordering an espresso, or what the Italians call a “caffè.” It’s a much stronger drink, and it’s often served with a glass of water to cleanse your palate.

How to order coffee in Italy?

If you’re visiting Italy and want to order coffee like a local, here are a few tips:

– Know what you want: If you’re a fan of espresso, order a “caffè” or a “ristretto” for a smaller, stronger version. If you want a milky drink, order a “cappuccino” or a “caffè latte.”

– Stand at the bar: In Italy, coffee shops have a different pricing system depending on whether you sit at a table or stand at the bar. Standing at the bar is much cheaper. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to mingle with locals.

– Pay first: In many coffee shops in Italy, you’ll need to pay for your coffee first at the cash register. Then take your receipt to the barista to order your drink.

– Don’t expect a to-go cup: In Italy, coffee is meant to be enjoyed in the moment. You won’t find many to-go cups, and if you do, they’ll likely come at a higher price.

Why is coffee culture important in Italy?

Coffee culture is deeply ingrained in Italian society. It’s not just about the caffeine fix – it’s a social ritual. In fact, there are many unwritten rules about ordering coffee in Italy.

Traditionally, coffee is something that’s enjoyed in the morning or early afternoon. Many Italians drink it standing at the bar, on their way to work or during a mid-morning break.

And coffee isn’t just a drink – it’s an experience. Italians take their time to enjoy their coffee, savoring each sip.

In Italy, coffee shops are often seen as community gathering spots. It’s a place where locals can catch up on the news, chat with friends, or simply sit and people-watch.

The best coffee in Italy

If you’re looking for the best coffee in Italy, you won’t have to look far. There are many coffee shops throughout the country that serve delicious, authentic espresso drinks.

In Naples, try a “caffè alla nocciola,” which is an espresso shot with hazelnut cream added. In Trieste, you’ll find strong, full-bodied espresso made with beans from the Adriatic coast.

And of course, no trip to Italy is complete without a visit to Milan. Here, you’ll find some of the oldest and most prestigious coffee shops in the world, like Caffè Camparino and Caffè Florian.


If you’re a coffee connoisseur visiting Italy, make sure you know what you’re ordering. Avoid the confusion of ordering a “latte” and instead go for a classic espresso or a caffè latte. And remember, coffee culture is an important part of Italian society, so take your time to savor each sip.

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