Seeing as I’m totally hopped up on caffeine today, I thought it was a good day to talk about the phenomena of coffee in Italy. “Taking a coffee” is an important part of Italian culture. It is a delicious and endlessly charming experience. Did you know that the success of Starbucks was inspired by the Italian coffee culture but there aren’t any Starbucks in Italy? From personal experience, I can tell you Italian coffee is much better and cheaper, too! An Italian person would choke if the barista charged 4€ for what passes as a cappuccino in the US. Coffee is taken in bars at all times of the day. The word “bar” does not the same meaning as it does in the U.S. Some do sell alcohol but it is not the sole focus. Bars in Italy always have the long, high counter and will sometimes have seating. It is more common to stand and drink your coffee. It isn’t like a US coffee shop where you hang out for hours using the wireless network. You drink your coffee and go. Most have some snack-like food with pastries in the morning and sandwiches and pizzetta in the afternoon. You may stop at a bar and prendo un caffè several times through out the day. I generally stop at least once a morning when I’m out running errands.

If you’re ever in Italy, it’s important to know:

  • You drink coffee in cups not plastic or paper
  • There is no such thing as take-away coffee; you don’t drink it while walking or driving
  • You should only drink cappuccino only in the morning; macchiato is okay in the afternoon (only has a little milk)
  • Caffè Americano bears little resemblance to American coffee. It really is expresso with extra hot water added. I wouldn’t touch the stuff!

If you’re a dedicated coffee drinker, you may have an expresso machine at home. We, like many Italians, prepare coffee at home in a “Moka”. We heat milk and take it with our Moka in the morning. Once you get used to this, it’s almost impossible to drink American coffee!

Our beloved "Moka"

I thought you might be interested in what homes look like in Italy.  Here are a couple pictures of our kitchen. We’ve almost gotten it to where we like it. Of course, our house has an American flair considering our belongings. The Italian homes I’ve been in so far have a distinctly modern and spartan flair. They have so much less “stuff” cluttering up their homes. I don’t know how they do it. I’m totally jealous!

La nostra cucina

La nostra cucina


Sitting area of kitchen