Last updated on January 22nd, 2024
Did you know that we have over 45 different coffee drinks here in Italy? The famous caffè and cappuccino are certainly Italy’s most loved of them all, but the list only begins there.
Do you prefer something:
- warm and earthy?
- with chocolate undertones and a sweet finish?
- that will help you warm up after a long day of skiing?
- cool on a hot summer day?
- for the little ones in your family?
There’s an Italian coffee for everyone, and every situation. Let’s go over their names, how they are pronounced, where you will most likely find them, and any details you should know before ordering.
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(pronounced ka-feh in Italian)
The most loved coffee in Italy and for good reason. The espresso in Italy is sweet and robust with just the right amount of caffeine. You can order one in any restaurant, bar, train station or airport.
Caffè in vetro
(pronounced ka-feh in veh-troh in Italian)
This is an espresso served in a glass cup instead of ceramic. Some Italians like the aesthetics of glass, and others claim it is more hygienic. I prefer the normal caffè, but you should decide for yourself!
(pronounced ka-feh skew-mah-toh in Italian)
Classic espresso with a small spoonful of foamy milk on top. It is actually not that easy to do well because you have to add just the right amount of air to the milk to get that perfect pillow float on your espresso.
Caffè con panna
(pronounced ka-feh cohn pawn-nah in Italian)
This whipped cream-topped espresso is common in northern Italy, but you can ask for it anywhere.
(pronounced ka-feh maw-kee-aw-tohin Italian)
Meaning dirty or stained coffee, the caffè macchiato is an espresso with just the slightest bit of steamed milk.
Caffè macchiato freddo
(pronounced ka-feh maw-kee-aw-toh freh-doh in Italian)
The same as a caffè macchiato but the milk is served cold on the side. You decide how much to add. This is often not on a menu or drink list. Just specify freddo.
Caffè macchiato in tazza grande
(pronounced ka-feh maw-kee-aw-toh in tazz-uh grawnd-eh in Italian)
Again, this is the same as a macchiato but served in a cappuccino size cup. This will not be on a menu, but it’s a personal preference of many Italians.
(pronounced maw-kee-aw-toh-neh in Italian)
100% invented by Italians, the macchiatone is a macchiato but with a bit more steamed milk – not quite as much as a cappuccino but a bit more than your normal macchiato. Again, it will most likely not be on the menu.
(pronounced deh-caf-eh-naw-toh in Italian)
Although you won’t see many Italians asking for decaf, it’s always available but often with a small surcharge. Some Italians claim it’s not as good but I can’t tell the difference. You can order any coffee drink decaf – just ask! If you want a decaffeinato any particular way such as macchiato, just specify un decaffeinato macchiato.
(pronounced ka-feh koh-reh-toh in Italian)
A caffè corretto is your good old espresso spiked with a shot of liquor of your choice. It is often drunk after dinner and the liquor changes depending on the region, but popular choices are sambuca, grappa, whisky or brandy.
(pronounced ka-feh dohr-soh in Italian)
This is a hot drink similar to coffee in taste but made from barley. It is naturally caffeine-free and can be ordered in a tazza grande or a tazza piccola (big or small cup). A favorite for kids!
Caffè al ginseng
(pronounced ka-feh all gin-sengeh in Italian)
This drink is derived from the roots of a plant mixed with coffee grinds, giving you a boost of energy but with less caffeine. This slightly sweet coffee is enjoyed throughout Italy.
(pronounced ka-fehdoh-pee-oh in Italian)
For all you tired folks out there – this double espresso is for you. The same great taste in the same great cup. Ask for it macchiato as well!
(pronounced ka-feh ree-streh-toh in Italian)
This espresso is made with the same amount of coffee, but with less water, making for an even stronger shot of coffee.
(pronounced ka-feh loon-goh in Italian)
The Italian “long coffee” is made by passing more water through the same amount of coffee grinds, using the same technique as an espresso. The most similar to American coffee.
(pronounced ka-feh uh-mehr-ee-cahn-oh in Italian)
For those cold days when you need a little more hot liquid, order a caffè lungo, an American coffee. It’s an espresso served with a small pitcher of hot water so you can make it as weak or strong as you like. Sometimes, the barista will add the water for you.
(pronounced ka-feh fresh-doh in Italian)
This is a pre-made cold coffee mixed with sugar and chilled in the fridge. This is a summer beverage in Italy.
Caffè in ghiaccio
(pronounced ka-feh in ghee-ah-choh in Italian)
A summer treat for real coffee lovers. The espresso is made on the spot and immediately poured over ice (ideally in a glass that has also been chilled). If you love iced coffee, but hate coffee that has been sitting around, this is for you!
Caffè in ghiaccio soffiato
(pronounced ka-feh in ghee-ah-choh soh-fee-ah-toh in Italian)
This coffee from Salento is freshly brewed espresso poured over ice and sugar and stirred vigorously to create a bit of a foam on top.
Caffè in ghiaccio con latte di mandorla
(pronounced ka-feh in ghee-ah-choh soh-fee-ah-toh cohn law-teh dee man-dohr-lah in Italian)
This coffee is enjoyed in Salerno, specifically on the beach. Made in the same way as caffè in ghiaccio soffiato, it’s sweet and foamy with the addition of almond milk.
Crema di caffè
(pronounced creh-muh dee ka-feh in Italian)
Made by mixing cream, ice and espresso and serving with whipped cream.
(pronounced shaw-ker-aw-toh in Italian)
Another summer favorite, made by shaking ice, freshly brewed espresso and sugar in a cocktail shaker until frothy. Served immediately in a (preferably chilled martini) glass.
(pronounced ka-feh sah-len-tee-noh in Italian)
Popular in southern Italy, this espresso is served in a cup with a glass of ice on the side so the client can decide how to mix it with either sugar, milk or both.
(pronounced cah-poo-chee-noh in Italian)
After the normal caffè, this is probably the most-loved coffee drink in Italy. A cappuccino is made from equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam, and is served warm, not hot. Italians only drink milk-based coffee drinks in the morning as they believe milk can disturb their digestion.
Don’t Miss: Want to know more about the cappuccino in Italy? Check out Cappuccino in Italy – The Great Debate: Can You Drink One After Breakfast?
(pronounced cah-poo-chee-noh kee-arh-oh in Italian)
A cappuccino made with more hot milk and less milk foam.
(pronounced cah-poo-chee-noh scoo-roh in Italian)
A cappuccino made with less milk and more espresso.
(pronounced cah-poo-chee-noh seh-coh in Italian)
A cappuccino made with just frothed milk and espresso – no hot milk.
Cappuccino con cannella
(pronounced cah-poo-chee-noh cohn can-ell-uh in Italian)
Your basic cappuccino with a sprinkling of cinnamon, perfect for winter and the mountains!
Cappuccino con cacao
(pronounced cah-poo-chee-no cohn cah-cow in Italian)
Your basic cappuccino kicked up a notch with a simple sprinkling of cocoa powder.
(pronounced moh-kah-chee-noh in Italian)
The ultimate sweet treat for cappuccino lovers. A small amount of hot chocolate is added to the classic cappuccino and sometimes drizzled with chocolate. It’s commonly served in the mountains or up north in the winter.
(pronounced law-teh maw-kee-aw-toh in Italian)
The exact opposite of a macchiato, the latte macchiato is a lot of warm milk served with a tiny bit of espresso. This coffee is a great way to introduce kids to coffee. Like a cappuccino, don’t get caught dead ordering this after noon!
(pronounced ka-feh law-teh in Italian)
This is espresso served with steamed milk – a bit more than a cappuccino, but just as loved by Italians for breakfast. Note that a caffè latte in Italy will be much smaller than a caffè latte you order at home.
Heads Up: If you order a latte in Italy, you’re just asking for a glass of milk.
(pronounced es-spress-ee-noh in Italian)
One of the most luxurious looking coffees, it’s basically a latte but in addition to the milk foam on top, it is finished with a sprinkling of cocoa powder. If you get a fun barista they will even make a little “art” on the top with the cocoa.
(pronounced ka-feh maw-chah in Italian)
On paper this is perhaps one of the funniest drinks, but it is growing in popularity among Italians. Caffè matcha is made by adding a Japanese tea to your espresso or cappuccino, giving the coffee a greenish color.
(pronounced ka-feh cal-ah-brehz-eh in Italian)
Certainly more complicated than some of the other drinks here, the caffè calabrese is made by crushing liquorice root with brandy or cognac and mixing it with sugar and espresso.
(pronounced ka-feh soh-spehs-oh in Italian)
More of a concept than a drink but we can’t leave it out. It is customary in Naples to buy two coffees, drink one and leave the other for another patron who cannot afford it. When someone comes in they simply ask C’è un caffè sospeso? and if someone has already paid for an extra, that person is served a coffee free of charge.
(pronounced ka-fehy mahr-tee-nee in Italian)
What could be better than a cocktail with caffeine? Espresso martini is a popular cocktail enjoyed during the summer made from vodka, Kahlua, simple syrup and a shot of espresso.
Caffè con nutella
(pronounced ka-feh cohn new-tell-uh in Italian)
A match made in heaven for Italians: a spoonful of Nutella smeared in the cup before adding the freshly brewed espresso. Even better when it is served with whipped cream. A favorite in the mountains!
Caffè con cannella
(pronounced ka-feh cohn can-ell-uh in Italian)
This is a simple espresso topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon which adds a layer of warmth and depth to your coffee, perfect for the winter!
(pronounced ka-feh mar-oh-kee-noh in Italian)
This is such a beautiful coffee to order in Italy and you will see it a lot up north. Cocoa powder, espresso and foamed milk are layered together in a small glass cup and topped with cocoa powder.
(pronounced bay-bee-chee-noh in Italian)
Developed for kids who want to drink coffee with their moms and dads. Foamy milk is topped with a dusting of cocoa powder and served up to kids all throughout Italy alongside their parents who are drinking the real thing!
(pronounced ka-feh in Italian)
A Turin favorite similar to a caffè marocchino, this coffee made from espresso, Italian hot chocolate, and milk is layered in a small glass.
(pronounced ka-feh an-ee-set in Italian)
From Marche, caffè anisette is a caffè corretto made with anise-flavored liqueur.
Caffè del Parrinu
(pronounced ka-feh dell pahr-ree-nu in Italian)
This is a coffee you will only find in Southern Sicily. Caffè del Parrinu is a simple espresso with hints of warm spices such as cinnamon, cloves and cocoa.
(pronounced pah-tav-ee-nuh in Italian)
This coffee dates back to the 1800s and is still popular today in Padova in the Veneto. Espresso is mixed with milk and a sweet mint syrup, topped with whipped cream, and sprinkled with cocoa powder.
Zabaione Al Caffè
(pronounced zab-aiyy-own-eh al ka-feh in Italian)
This traditional coffee drink is from Bologna. Espresso is served with zabaione (an Italian custard made with eggs, milk and wine).
Granita di Caffè
(pronounced grah-nee-tuh dee ka-feh in Italian)
A great way to get a caffeine boost and cool off during the summer. Originally from Sicily, this is a coffee slushy made with crushed ice, simple syrup, and espresso, and it’s sometimes topped with whipped cream. You can now get a granita in many places, but if you want the real stuff, head to Sicily.
How to Order Coffee in Italy
You are at the bar, now what do you say?
- Start by ordering what you want at the cash register Vorrei un caffè, per favore (may I please have an espresso). You will then be expected to pay, preferably in cash or coins for small orders.
- Head over to the counter and ask the barista for whatever you ordered. For example, un caffè per piacere (one espresso, please), placing your receipt on the counter. They may or may not look at it. There should be a small pitcher of milk and sugar dispenser on the bar. Should it not be, kindly ask posso avere un po’ di zucchero/latte, per favore? (may I please have some sugar/milk please?).
- If you are at a bar that has no table service, take your coffee to a table and enjoy sitting down. If you stay at the bar try to be quick. Counter space is meant to be shared so drink up and move on!
For a comprehensive guide to ordering coffee in Italy read How To Order Coffee in Italy – Step-by-Step + Tips and Coffee in Italy – Types & How to Order + Printable Coffee Checklist!
Tips for Ordering Coffee in Italy Like an Italian
- Bars (and stores in general) in Italy are always short on coins for some weird reason. They love exact change and try not to break a 50 with a single coffee! Many bars don’t accept cards for small amounts.
- Leave a small coin on top of your receipt when ordering if you want faster service.
- Make eye contact and repeat your order to the barista when you place your receipt on the counter, un cappuccino, per favore.
- Italian bars are loud! It’s completely acceptable to speak loudly or talk over people if you are trying to get the barista’s attention.
- You are not expected to tip in Italy (a general rule) but you can leave small coins on the counter if you like.
- The counter space is not for hanging out. Drink your coffee and make room for others who may be waiting behind you.
- Don’t worry about asking for sugar, it will come on the side. If you want milk on the side you will need to ask Posso avere un po’ di latte da parte, per piacere?
- Italians don’t have the concept of a line (although they are getting better). You need to just push your way through to get to the front. If you are having trouble, try and find someone on the corner who is finishing up and wait right next to them. The moment they finish, pounce. Then try and make your way to the center if you can.
- If you are also ordering a pastry, order that first and then make your way to the coffee counter. Please don’t lose your receipt from one to the next!
- Remember, just because it’s not on the menu doesn’t mean they can’t make it for you. Always ask!
Ways to Drink Italian Coffee FAQ
No, you cannot. Coffee comes in one size. If you like a lot of hot liquid ask for a caffè americano or caffè latte.
The Robusta is much easier to grow which makes it more affordable. It also has more caffeine and gives the coffee an “earthy” flavor. The arabica bean is more sweet and acidic which is why many coffee companies use a blend. The arabica also produces less frothy crema (the golden froth on the top of your espresso).
You sure can! Try asking for latte di soia (soy milk), latte di mandorla (almond milk) or latte di avena (oat milk). They may not have them all but they will certainly accommodate you the best they can.