How to drink Coffee like an Italian: 34 different ways

Did you know how many ways an Italian orders coffee at the bar? Exactly, me neither.

I was pondering this question this morning in my local bar, amongst the delirium of saucers, teaspoons and shoving patrons all going about their usual Italian morning. I felt for the barman, who seemed to take it all in his stride. I used to be a barman myself, and was there when the Italian coffee craze hit the UK. Every bar seemed to be getting fit with espresso machines, and when once someone would just ask for coffee with milk, I was getting asked for things like “macchiato” and “caffè lungo”. Then there were those customers who would ask for “espresso decaffeinato” – an espresso with decaff coffee?? Surely that’s akin to asking for an alcohol-free tequila?

Anyway, I digress. To help with your vacation in Sardinia we have put together some extremely important information. Read carefully, print it out if necessary – because this may all prove vital!

1. Un caffè. Normal. Basic. How it comes. You will immediately notice the curious look upon the bartenders face, and he may hesitate for a moment to allow you time to add the necessary suffix: con latte? ristretto? corretto? Lungo? and so on. One does not simply walk into a bar in Italy and order coffee!

2.Un caffè macchiato caldo. This means a normal coffee, in a cup, with a dash of hot milk added.

3.Un caffè macchiato freddo. As above, with cold milk.

4.Un caffè macchiato freddo con latte scrematoUn caffè macchiato caldo con latte scremato. As above, with skimmed milk

5.Un caffè schiumato. Similar to macchiato, it consists of pouring some of the steamed milk froth into the cup. A modern, trendy thing.

6.Un caffè marocchino. Here it gets complicated because every bar has its own secret recipe, often with different names. In principle it is a foamed coffee with added cocoa powder. Perhaps how it is served in Morocco?

7.Un caffè decaffeinato. Or “decaff” to friends. It means that the customer likes the aroma of black powder but fears its exciting effects, and plans on having an early night.

8.Un caffè corretto. That is, with the added “gusto” of  sambuca or grappa or some other liquor. In the north of Italy it is very strong. Attention if driving!

9.Un caffè d’orzo in tazza piccola. Coffee has very little to do with it, it is water and soluble barley in a small cup. Helps you get to sleep at night.

10.Un caffè d’orzo in tazza grande. As above, but extra large!

11.Un caffè al ginseng. A coffee with Asian inspiration! A personal favorite of mine – an espresso infused with the taste of ginseng. Very sweet and delivers quite the kick.

12.Un caffè doppio. Simple – A double portion of coffee!

13.Un caffè lungo. Not two shots of espresso in one, but a single espresso left to siv longer than usual, meaning a slightly more watered down coffee.

14.Un caffè ristretto. The opposite of the long, is when the flow of water through the machine is switched off earlier than usual. Coffee will be denser and stronger.

15.Un caffè freddo. Loved in the summer, impossible to find in the winter season.

16.Un caffè con panna. Coffee with whipped cream. More of a desert than a coffee.

17. Un caffè salentino,or with ice. Typical of the sunny regions of Italy, particularly Sardinia and Sicily, it can be done in two ways. The first, simplest, consists of immersing an ice cube in the cup of already sweetened coffee. The other, decidedly more elegant and gourmet, consists in ordering “a coffee and a glass with ice”. Then the coffee is sugared and poured into the glass.

18.Caffè al vetro. Any of the aforementioned coffees, but served in a glass.

19.Un caffè macchiato freddo con latte scremato al vetro, and so on and so on…

20.Un caffè shakerato. A great substitute for cold coffee, it is made in a classic Italian Bar shaker. Put plenty of sugar, ice, coffee and shake hard. Serve then filtering the liquid, now iced and frothy. With a dash of whiskey or chocolate liqueur, it becomes a dessert. Very nice it is too!

21.Cappuccino. The most famous Italian drink in the world: frothed milk and a good helping of espresso.

22.Un Cappuccino Chiaro. A cappuccino with less coffee.

23.Un Cappuccino scuro. A cappuccino with more coffee.

24.Un Cappuccino al vetro.  Cappuccino in a glass. Does this seem like a nightmare? Think for a moment about the poor barman!

25.Un Cappuccino decaffeinato. Cappuccino decaffeinated.

26.Un cappuccino con il latte scremato. Cappuccino with skimmed milk. For those on a diet.

27.Un cappuccino secco. Heard of this today – A Cappuccino with just foam! So – milk and foam then?

28.Un cappuccino con caffè caldo e latte freddo. Things are getting silly now – A Cappuccino with hot coffee but cold milk.

29.Un cappuccino con cacao. Work this one out yourselves!

30.Latte macchiato. Not a cappuccino or coffee and milk, just a glass of milk with a bit of coffee.

31.Latte freddo macchiato caldo. Come on now!

32.Caffè e latte. So a regular coffee in a large glass with steamed milk. The difference with a cappuccino is in the greater quantity of milk in place of foam.

33.Caffè e latte con caffè freddo e latte freddo… Coffee with milk with cold coffee and cold milk

34.Caffè latte con caffè caldo e latte freddo.. Coffee with milk – coffee hot and milk cold.

Do you have a headache? Of course you do, so do I. And I even left out the variants like: coffee with cream instead of sugar. Please tell us in the comments below, have I missed anything? How do you take your coffee in Sardinia? Let us know!