22 July 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
Bruce & Caroline
Caution this article has a yawn rating of 3 - you have been warned :-)
Coffee is a significant part of Italian culture and there are rules/rituals surrounding it that us non Italians don't understand....so this is our attempt at trying to explain some of them.
First and foremost there are the different coffee types which need to be understood;
Typical coffee types:
Caffè (espresso): a small cup of very strong coffee, i.e., the typical espresso (20 to 25ml)
Caffè doppio: 2 espresso served in one cup
Caffè ristretto: an even more condensed version of an espresso (less than 20 ml)
Caffè macchiato (or un macchiato): an espresso with a drop of milk. You can order either a macchiato caldo (drop of steamed milk), a macchiato freddo (drop of cold milk)
Caffè Americano: weaker than espresso and served in a large cup or a glass, but stronger than English/American-style coffee. It consists of an espresso to which hot water has been added after the brewing process (about 80ml).
Caffè lungo: where more water (about double) is let through the ground coffee, yielding a weaker taste (about 40ml).
Cappuccino: it is not just an espresso with steamed milk although it may seem that way. Steamed milk is very carefully added (about 1/3) before the final topping (of about 1/3) of foamy, frothy milk. Served with or without the finishing touch of cacao powder or chocolate topping.
Caffè Hag: (especially for you Barry ;-) also commonly known as un deca, a decaffeinated coffee. Can be combined with any of the versions above, un deca macchiato, un cappuccino deca, etc.
Caffè latte: not really a coffee drink as this is basically hot milk mixed with coffee and served in a glass.
....and then there are the rules;
Cappuccino, caffeine latte and latte macchiato (or any other milky coffee) should only be drunk in the morning! Italians don't agree with all that hot milk hitting a full stomach.
Don't mess around with coffee! Treat it like a malt whisky and stick to the types outlined.
Never say 'espresso'!
Apparently this is a technical term in Italian so just order 'un caffe' and you will get a single espresso.
Not a common request because Italians prefer to drink coffee in small steady doses but if you really want one order a 'caffe doppio'.
Order your coffee confidently at the bar or if in a tourist place at the till beforehand to obtain your ticket.
Unless you have good reason it should be drank standing up at the bar. It is regarded as a pleasurable drug and should be downed in one standing. It's cheaper this way too!
Your coffee should arrive at a temperature that you can down immediately but if you prefer it hotter you need to ask for a 'caffe bollente'....but be warned because you will get some strange looks.
That's about it as far as we can tell...but there may be other rules that we just haven't recognised - watch this space for any updates.
Oh....and on a final note don't order a 'latte' as you would in the UK because that's precisely what you get...Milk! We speak from experience ;-)