Italian coffee culture is world-renowned. Coffee first came to Italy from the Middle East, but Italians are responsible for the coffee-drinking experience that we know and love today. Whether it’s having an espresso, sipping a cappuccino, or drinking a macchiato, you can have the best Italian coffee in true Italian style using our tips below.
When you’re at home
Italians have perfected the coffee machine. The “macchinetta”, or stove top percolator, can be seen across Italian kitchens (and now in many other countries as well). The famous aluminium Bialetti percolator was invented in 1933, and is the staple of an Italian kitchen. The design allows water to slowly boil, and the coffee retains its original taste, rather than tasting burnt. Many modern coffee machines use scaldingly hot water to douse their coffee, which can affect the taste. You can also use the machine to make cappuccinos.
For best results, make a few batches of coffee in your Bialetti macchinetta without drinking it. This supposedly gives the metal that unmistakable coffee taste. Rinse the percolator with hot water only, as dishwashing fluid will ruin the taste of the coffee, and allow it to air dry after usage.
For even better results, drink your authentic Italian coffee made in your Italian Bialetti macchinetta in a cup made by native Italian artisans. Our Colombino mugs are made of ceramic, hand thrown by the talented artisans of Ceramiche Tapinassi, which was established in 1954.
When you’re in Italy
All of the coffee types we know from the ubiquitous coffee shops in the United Kingdom and the United States are a dilution of traditional Italian coffee. Espressos bought from a chain are bought to wake up before work, and cappuccinos are consumed with meals. However, in Italy, there are certain differences in coffee culture that every traveller should know.
A caffè in Italy doesn’t just mean coffee, it means you are asking specifically for an espresso. A ceramic tazzina, or small-size cup, will arrive with a small saucer and stirring spoon, but it will be pure espresso coffee inside. Coffee shops are known as “bars”, and Italians will stop off for a quick espresso at many points during the day, not just during the morning rush. Cappuccinos are considered a whole meal in themselves, and many Italians will not drink cappuccinos with meals or later in the day. Mochas, frappuccinos, and other named drinks do not exist in Italian coffee culture; we recommend experimenting to find your perfect coffee.
If you’re looking to recreate Italian life in your kitchen, why not drink your coffee on a table laden with Italian linens? Have a look at our March into Spring sale to find your perfect Italian look.