The Simply Biscotti and Wafers in your January Gin of the Month box are impeccably Italian treats – but to enjoy them in the most authentic way possible, pair them with espresso on the go. Here are three keys to mastering the art of Italian coffee culture.
1. Don’t Reach for the Milk After Noon
In Italy, it’s the norm to order a cappuccino to enjoy alongside your breakfast pastry. In fact, that’s a standard breakfast for the Italians! Once the clock strikes noon (or 11, even), however, don’t even think about ordering a milk-laden beverage… that is, unless you’re willing to bear the glare of a horrified barista. Drinking milk after noon is a serious taboo in Italy, and this goes back to a cultural preoccupation with proper digestion. If you’re familiar with the traditions of aperitivo or digestivo, you’ll probably be familiar with this. So if you often find yourself desperate for an afternoon jolt, you might want to refer to #2…
Tip: Don’t just order a ‘latte’ unless you want a cold glass of milk – be sure to add caffé into your request!
2. Remember: It’s All About Espresso
We get most of our coffee phraseology from the Italians: cappuccino, latte, macchiato… the list goes on! But in Italy, you’ll find that the reigning king of caffeine is the espresso. In fact, the term doesn’t even exist in the country as the espresso is the default ‘cup of coffee’ for the Italians. So be aware: if you ask your barista for ‘un caffé, per favore’, you’ll be handed a tiny espresso! This type of beverage is perfect for sipping while indulging in the most common coffee ritual the Italians have: standing at the bar, enjoying a cup and chatting away with the barista.
Tip: Coffee is served at the perfect temperature to be consumed, so be sure to have your espresso quick before it goes cold.
3. Stick to the Simple Stuff
Italians love their coffee, but you won’t find your double-vanilla-mocha-frappuccino at the local caffé bar. A caffé (i.e. espresso), cappuccino and caffé latte are the most common varieties ordered at the bar, but a caffé macchiato or caffé corretto (coffee ‘corrected’ with a shot of grappa or brandy) are also acceptable.
Tip: Italians don’t really take their coffees ‘to-go’, so opt to gulp down your espresso at the bar if you’re trying to blend in with the locals!