How to Enjoy Coffee like an Italian

If you like coffee, then rare are the pleasures in life that can match the experience of enjoying an authentic Italian espresso in a café in Italy, the country of passionate coffee lovers. Imagine sitting at a table outside, sipping this heavenly work of art, the Mediterranean sun caressing your skin, while you take in the lively piazza all around you. “Life is not that bad, after all”, you think to yourself, and take another sip of this glorious drink.

However, if you want to enjoy the Italian coffee drinking experience like the locals do, you need to get acquainted with the unspoken, mysterious rules of their delicate coffee culture. That’s where this fun infographic below on 10 Italian Coffee Drinking Rules by Med Cruise Guide below can help.

One of the key rules which baffle travelers to Italy is that there is no take-away coffee. Order one and you will label yourself a tourist right away (and probably get a not-so-friendly barista’s stare and a quick rant in Italian, as well). In Italy, coffee is something that connects people, which allows you to take a moment and enjoy a small talk with a friend, to people-watch, to contemplate. It’s a very welcome break from your busy life, and you should cherish it.

If you’d like to sit at a table outside, know that you will pay more than if you had your coffee at the bar inside. And it’s not a good idea to get creative with your order, such as “one Grande with extra cream”. Big no-no. Respect this coffee-loving culture by knowing that their coffee sizes are standard, and have been that way for centuries. For example, an espresso is a quick shot of caffeine, and cappuccino allows for some work of art with cream on top you can’t help but stare at.

Oh, and about cappuccino… it’s a breakfast coffee, best enjoyed with some sweet pastry. Don’t order it at other times of the day, or you’ll hear a pin drop at tables around you. :) Hope this helps you start discovering the unwritten rules of the Italian coffee culture. Explore the infographic below, and you’ll be ready for that Italian coffee adventure you’ve always dreamed of. Buoncaffé!

About the author: Anna Kay is an avid traveler, photographer and editor at She loves exploring and island-hopping across the Mediterranean, and enjoying local food specialties.

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