Confused about all the different coffee types here in Italy? Read on to learn about the many delicious options, plus practice your Italian with some examples of how to order coffee!
Espresso. Also known simply as caffè, this is a single shot of espresso. Italians sometimes drink their espresso in a single gulp to fully enjoy the flavor. Example: Un caffè, per favore. – I’ll have a coffee, please.
Doppio. A double shot of espresso. Example: Mi fa un caffè doppio per cortesia? – Will you make me a double espresso, please?
Espresso macchiato. An espresso topped with a small amount of frothy warm milk. You can also ask for an espresso with cold milk. Example: Prendiamo due espressi macchiati con latte freddo, grazie. – We’ll have two espressos with a splash of cold milk, thanks.
Cappuccino. The world famous Italian classic consists of a third espresso, a third steamed milk, and a third schiuma (creamy foam). Powdered cocoa may be sprinkled on top as a garnish. Italians tend to drink cappuccino only for breakfast. Example: Mi porta un cappuccino, per favore? – Will you please bring me a cappuccino?
Caffè latte. One third espresso and about two-thirds steamed milk with no foam. Note that if you order this by saying only ‘latte’ you will be served a glass of milk. Example: Un caffè latte per me e un latte caldo per mio figlio. – A caffè latte for me and a warm milk for my son.
Caffè alto. This is an espresso that has been allowed to brew longer, with more water pressing through the machine, and thus resulting in a less intense coffee. Also called caffè lungo (“long”). Example: Vorrei un caffè leggermente meno intenso. Mi può farne uno alto? – I’d like a slightly less intense coffee. Could you make me a “tall” one please?
Caffè americano. A cup of coffee that is like an American cup, served as an espresso in a larger cup together with a small pot of hot water. Add the water to the espresso. Example: Preferisco un caffè americano, grazie. – I prefer an American style coffee, thanks.
Caffè shakerato. ‘Shaken’, this is the Italian version of iced coffee, made by mixing ice, espresso, and some simple sugar syrup in a cocktail mixer and served in a tall martini style glass. Example – Che caldo! Due caffè shakerati, per cortesia. – It’s so hot! Two iced coffees, please.
Granita. A frozen espresso drink much like a ‘slushy’ and served in a cup with a spoon. Highly addicting! Example: Che buono! Vorrei ancora una granita al caffè, per favore. – That is so good! I’d like another coffee granita, please.
Affogato. This is a dessert of gelato (usually vanilla or cream flavor) ‘drowned’ in espresso and served with a spoon. Example – Quest’affogato è squisito! This (espresso-‘drowned’) gelato is exquisite!
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