Italian Coffee Terms Explained

italian coffee menu thumbnail 180x130 Italian Coffee Terms Explained

With the recent influx of English-speaking guests visiting our B&B, it has come to my attention everyone might not get Italian coffee. Sure, Starbucks taught us the words “Cappuccino,” “Macchiato,” even “Grande,” … for its worth, but if you want a true Italian coffee experience, there are a few things you should know.

I’ve been collecting notes on Italian coffee and had even scribbled in a publication date on My Bella Vita’s editorial calendar, but avid traveler and coffeeholic Cecil Lee of Travel Feeder beat me to the punch. Below, you’ll find his description of what he has learned about Italian coffee, along with some of my notes tossed in … ’cause I can’t help myself!

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Like many of my globetrotting colleagues, I’m addicted to coffee and depend on that hot, steamy cup of mud to get me through my day. I also thrive on taste-testing different varieties of coffee and trying-and comparing-them in each country I visit. And who, you ask, is the hands down winner in my book for best coffee?

Why, Italy, of course.

On my recent trip through the country, I found myself visiting Italian bars … more often than I should, and besides learning to inhale my coffee at the bar-like the locals do!-I picked up a few new coffee terms to add to my Italian-language repertoire.

The most common varieties of Italian coffee you will see on the menu are “Cappuccino,” “Americano,” and “Caffè.” But for those of you who’d like to try something different, here are some, possibly new, Italian coffee terms to help you along the way.

- Caffè: In other parts of the world it is called “espresso,” but in Italy, it is simply called “Caffè.” Expect it to be served in a small cup and order “caffè” – not espresso.

- Americano: One or two shots of espresso diluted with hot water

- Cappuccino: Espresso topped with frothed milk (Cherrye’s note: An Italian cappuccino is sometimes sprinkled with cocoa powder and is my preferred morning drink here in Italy. In fact, I’ve been known to sulk like a little girl if they forget to add my cocoa.)

italian coffee cappuccino Italian Coffee Terms Explained

- Corretto: One shot of espresso mixed or “corrected” with a shot of liquor, normally Grappa or Brandy

- Caffè Shakerato: A shot of espresso that is mixed with sugar and ice and then shaken until it is frothy. (Cherrye’s note: In many bars in Calabria, a caffè shakerato is made with cold milk or hazelnut gelato … . Yowsers, talk about delicious!)

- Caffelatte: Not to be confused with “latte,” the Italian word for milk, a caffelatte is just a mix of espresso and milk and is my personal favorite

- Caffè Doppio: We call it a double espresso in Malaysia, and in Italy it is just two shots of regular ole Italian espresso

- Macchiato: A shot of espresso topped with a dollop of frothed milk (Cherrye’s note: If you are looking for something a bit sweeter, why not ask for a Caffè Bacio, a macchiato that is drizzled with warm melted chocolate … like the sweet chocolaty “kiss” it is.)

- Caffè D’Orzo: A coffee substitute that is brewed with roasted barley

- Caffè con Panna: A shot of espresso that is topped with thick whipped cream

(Cherrye’s note: Similar to a caffè con panna, a Caffè alla Nocciola (hazelnut coffee) is a shot of espresso that is served with hazelnut and topped with slivers of fresh hazelnuts. In some bars it is served with the hazelnut paste they use in their pastries, while other bars serve it with hazelnut gelato. Recipes vary, but the result is usually the same … and I bet you know what I mean. Delizioso!)

Thanks, Cecil. If you’d like to know more about ordering an Italian coffee in Italy, you can read up on that over at Ms. Adventures in Italy, pick up more Italian coffee terms with Jessica at Why Go Italy or create your own caffè shakerato like I do … my recipe is right here.

So, Cecil and I shared our favorite Italian coffee drinks with you-won’t you do the same? What is your Italian coffee of choice in or out of the bel paese?

Cecil Lee is a passionate travel blogger and photographer living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He writes about travel for MNUI travel insurance and on his own travel photo blog, Travel Feeder.

Traveling to southern Italy? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip to Calabria or southern Italy.

Photos: Cecil Lee

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the correct spelling of Caffe Shakerato for my blog (too easy– almost English) I searched that term and could not find it anywhere. Thanks Cherrye — as always your the go-to gal!

    Yea! Thanks, Betsy. Glad you found it. I love me a good shakerato!

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  2. And in the summer there is crema cafe, a shot of what I can only describe as an espresso shake – a separate entity from the shakerato (some bars up here add coffee liqueur to the shakerato). The barista gets it ready for me when he sees me coming!

    LOVE that! I haven’t had that in a looooong time. Why oh why didn’t I think of it more this summer?!?

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  3. Just spent a week and a half in Italy, and whilst staying in Salerno with some Italian ex-flatmates from London, tried Caffè alla Nocciola – WOW!!! Had another in Minori, at Pasticceria de Riso (home of the now famous Torta Ricotta e Pere, or Ricotta and Pear torte – delizioso!!), but the best was from a little place simply called Cafè Caffè, very close to the train station in Salerno.

    Made with some sort of hazelnut cream, which was frothed with something like a milkshake maker and added on top of the caffè similar to a caffè macchiato, but with a good amount of the hazelnut cream. Silky smooth, with a strong flavour of coffee mixed with the sweetness and texture of the hazelnut cream was amazing – delizioso!!!

    That was a word that I used a LOT in Italy :)

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