Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Italian Coffee Culture You Need to Know: Why Lattes Are Frowned Upon

by Mads

Why not to order latte in Italy?

If you find yourself in Italy and decide to order a latte, don’t be surprised if you receive some funny looks from locals. While lattes have become a staple in cafés around the world, they are not commonly consumed in Italy, and can even be frowned upon.

So, why is this the case? The answer lies in the country’s rich coffee culture.

In Italy, coffee is not just a beverage, it’s a way of life. From espresso to cappuccino, every coffee has its place and time of day. Italians have a certain way of enjoying their coffee, and it’s part of their heritage and daily routine.

Ordering a latte in Italy is a big no-no because “latte” simply means milk. If you order a latte, you won’t receive espresso with steamed milk and a touch of foam, as you would in most places. Instead, you’ll just get a glass of milk.

So, what should you order instead? For a morning coffee, Italians often opt for an espresso or a cappuccino. Cappuccinos are typically consumed before 11 a.m. and consist of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. After 11 a.m., Italians usually switch to an espresso or a macchiato, which is a shot of espresso with a tiny bit of milk foam.

By sticking to these traditional coffee orders, you’ll avoid any confusion or misunderstandings and get to experience Italy’s coffee culture the right way.

The Italian Coffee Culture You Need to Know

Italy is known for its spectacular cuisine, wine, and fashion, but it’s also famous for its coffee culture. Italians take their coffee seriously, and for good reason. Coffee is an integral part of their daily routine, and they have developed a unique and cherished coffee culture.

The Italian coffee culture is rooted in tradition and history. The coffee culture in Italy started in the 16th century, and it’s been a part of Italian life ever since.

In Italy, coffee is not just a beverage; it’s an experience. Italians prefer their coffee strong, hot, and in small cups. Espresso is the most common type of coffee served in Italy, and it’s consumed in the morning, after lunch, and in the evening.

The art of making coffee is taken seriously in Italy. Baristas must undergo extensive training to master the art of making the perfect espresso, cappuccino, or macchiato. The coffee-making process is seen as a form of art, and baristas take pride in their work.

In Italy, coffee is more than just a beverage; it’s a social experience. Italians meet friends, family, and colleagues in cafes to chat, read the newspaper, and enjoy a coffee. Coffee is meant to be savored and enjoyed, not rushed.

If you want to experience authentic Italian coffee culture, then you should visit the coffee shops that the locals frequent. These are typically small, unassuming shops that serve high-quality coffee. Avoid the big chains, as the coffee is often not as good as in independent shops.

The Importance of High-Quality Coffee

In Italy, coffee is not just a novelty, it’s a necessity. Italians consume coffee on a daily basis and have a high standard for quality coffee. High-quality coffee isn’t just about the taste, it’s also about the experience.

The coffee-making process is a craft, and it requires quality beans, skilled baristas, and the right equipment. In Italy, coffee is made on state-of-the-art machines that are kept in excellent condition.

Ordering a cup of coffee in Italy is an experience. The espresso shots are pulled in front of you, and the frothy milk is steamed to perfection. The result is a smooth, rich, and delicious coffee that stimulates the senses.

It’s important to drink high-quality coffee because it provides an energy boost and a sense of well-being. High-quality coffee is also rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.

The Future of Italian Coffee Culture

The Italian coffee culture is a cherished tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. While the culture remains strong, it’s also evolving.

New coffee shops are popping up in Italy, offering a more modern take on traditional coffee culture. These shops often experiment with new coffee blends, brewing methods, and presentation.

While Italian coffee culture is changing, one thing remains the same – the importance of quality coffee. Italians will continue to demand high-quality coffee, and baristas will continue to hone their craft and maintain the traditions of Italian coffee culture.


If you find yourself in Italy, make sure to try the traditional coffee drinks like espresso, cappuccino, and macchiato. Avoid ordering a latte, as it’s not a traditional Italian coffee and can be seen as disrespectful.

Italian coffee culture is a cherished tradition that has been built over centuries. The coffee-making process is taken seriously, and high-quality coffee is a must. Drinking coffee in Italy is not just about the taste, it’s about the experience, and it’s something that every visitor should experience.

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