There are unwritten rules about drinking coffee in Italy. You might just get a very funny look in cafés throughout Italy if you don’t learn these few simple rules.
– Beverages with milk are to be drunk only in the morning. Cappuccino, latte, macchiato late and all other favorite beverages in the world with milk are drunk in Italy only in the morning before 11 am. Also never order beverages containing milk after meals.
– Do not experiment. Don’t ask for mint frapuccino or similar craziness because the Italians hold to simple recipes. The only exception is Naples – where “caffè alla nocciola” (espresso with hazelnut cream) is served and in Milan, where you can drink “marocchino” – kind of ‘reverse’ cappuccino (the bottom of the cup should be sprinkled with cocoa, then the gradient sparkling milk and at the top is coffee).
– Do not look for “espresso”. Do not use the word “espresso” because in Italy it represents only a technical term – not the one that is in daily use. Simply order “un caffè”. You can order “caffè doppio” (or double espresso) if you want, but keep in mind that the Italians do not have the habit of drinking this type of coffee. It is true that Italians drink a lot of coffee, but they always make small and strong doses.
– Be clear and loud. Italian bars are often packed and understaffed, so customers will not be able to count on fast service. Just pay a visit to the bar and call the bartender even if he is not facing you. Italians tend to drink coffee at the bar quickly, standing up. Coffee that is served at tables can be several times more expensive. If you want your coffee hot, order “caffè bollente”. Apart from cappuccino, latte and macchiato coffee / late macchiato, they also drink “caffè corretto” (with the addition of brandy), “caffè freddo” / “cappuccino freddo” (iced espresso or cappuccino ice, commonly used sweetened), and “un caffè lungo” or “un caffè ristretto”, depending on the amount of water in your espresso.
-Payment. In most cafés you will first have to pay for the order, then show your bill to the bartender who will serve you the drink. If you are not sure what rule applies in the restaurant, it would be best to wait first for a few minutes on the side, and observe the situation.