Tipi di caffè in Italia
The caffè espresso is the classic Italian coffee served in a small cup. When you order it, you don’t need to say espresso, just caffè. Vorrei un caffè – and you’ll get an espresso! This is actually the first important thing you need to know about Italian coffee: coffee in Italy is always an espresso.
The caffè ristretto is a very concentred espresso, so it’s shorter. The opposite is the caffè lungo, that has a bit more water and therefor longer. The caffè doppio is a double espresso, so you’ll get twice an espresso in your small cup. You can add a couple of things in your coffee: if you add a dash of milk you’ll have a caffè macchiato – depending on whether the milk is hot or cold you’ll have a macchiato caldo or freddo; if you add a dash of liquor, like sambuca or grappa, you’ll have a caffè corretto.
These are all coffees you’ll get in a small cup: the Italian tazzina. If you want a long coffee like what you get in Starbucks, then you should order a caffè americano. This is an espresso diluted with hot water. Usually it’s something for tourists, since almost no Italian drinks it. In addition, In Italy it’s also very popular il caffè d’orzo, made with barley beans, and il caffè al ginseng, derived from pure ginseng root. The German filter coffee, caffè filtro in Italian, is not very common in Italy.
Of course this are not all varieties of coffee you can find in Italy, but these are very common varieties that are useful for you to know. Do you know another variety of Italian coffee? Tell us in the comments!
Home coffee: the moka pot
Caffè con la moka (Bialetti)
There is one thing that should not be missing in an Italian house: la moka! This is the pot for preparing Italian coffee at home. Just add some ground coffee and water, put it on the stove and after a few minutes your Italian coffee is ready!
Coffee made with a Moka is not an espresso, because not enough pressure can be generated. The taste is slightly different and unlike a real espresso, it does not produce a stable crema. This coffee is called Caffè Moka, but in Italy it is simply called Caffè, just like Caffè Espresso. Since it is common in Italy to prepare coffee at home with a moka pot, but to go to a bar for an espresso, the respective meaning of Caffè is derived from the context: at home this means the coffee prepared with the moka pot, outside the home this is the Caffè Espresso.
Important: Do not confuse this Italian coffee with mocha, the Turkish coffee (in Italian Caffè turco)!
Of course you should drink the Italian coffee in a small tazzina. Do you already have a Moka pot and tazzine at home? If not, this could be a good purchase for your next trip to Italy! In case you’re wondering which ones to buy, we’ll give you a tip: Bialetti is the inventor of the moka and definitely the most popular Italian moka brand.
Would you like to learn how to order a coffee in Italy? Read our lesson about ordering in a café.
Would you like to know more about the breakfast habits of the Italians? Read our article What do Italians eat for breakfast?