How to Order Coffee in Italy + Will Starbucks Succeed in Milan?

Will Starbucks Succeed in Milan?

Why aren’t there any Starbucks in Italy? It’s a question that comes up often when visiting as most travelers are used to seeing one on every corner these days. I have always felt a sense of pride for Italy that they’ve held off for so long (that is until next month). Don’t get me wrong, a White Mocha from Starbucks is one of my favorite indulgences, but I think it’s safe to say even the most diehard Starbucks addict won’t miss it in Italy!

My understanding is Starbucks never ventured into the Italian market out of respect for Italy’s special coffee culture as well as uncertainty as to whether they could compete with the local cafes. Time will tell how Starbucks does in the land of cafes and cappuccinos! After all, the coffee culture in Italy is second to none.

Since the Italian cafe menu may look a little different to what you’re used to, here is a cheat sheet to help you navigate the Italian coffee scene.

How to Order Coffee in Italy

When ordering a coffee in Italian say: Vorrei un caffè per favore (I would like a coffee, please) or keep it simple and say, “Un cafe per favore.”

  • Espresso or Caffè – Asking for a coffee in Italy is an espresso (not a cup of Jo)
  • Decafinato – Decaf espresso
  • Doppio Espresso  – Two shots of espresso
  • Caffè Americano   – The closest thing to American coffee (espresso diluted with hot water)
  • Caffè Americano Decaffeinato – American decaf
  • Cappuccino or a “Cap” – A shot of espresso with steamed milk (Italians don’t typically order this after 11am, but cafes are usually willing to make one for visitors in the afternoon)
  • Caffè Macchiato – Espresso with a little milk and foam
  • Caffè Latte – Espresso mixed with warm milk (similar to a latte)
  • Caffè Corretto – Coffee with a shot of liquor (typically grappa)
  • Espresso Granita con Panna – Coffee shaved ice with cream (Order this frozen coffee at La Casa del Caffe Tazza d Oro in Rome!)

What is your favorite type of coffee to order in Italy? I’d love to hear!



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