The Italians have all sorts of names for it – espresso, caffe normale, cappuccino, caffe corretto, granite di caffe con panna, among others. How many types of pastas are there in Italy? That’s how many different names one small tazza of Italian coffee has.

Certainly, Italian coffee is more than just a beverage for the passionate Italian. A cup of Italian coffee is a form of art and for every occasion, for every mood, you are guaranteed to get one that fits perfectly.

In Search of the Perfect Tazza

The possibilities of Italian coffee are enough to bewilder anyone who has the taste for coffee but not the tongue for its numerously confusing names. So what kind of Italian coffee should you order in a caffe? Here is a list of some of the most popular caffeine-laden drinks that you will typically find in an Italian caffe:

* Caffe – generally a small cup of very strong coffee; often referred to as espresso but be sure to pronounce it with an ‘s’ instead of expresso.
* Caffe Americano – this is American-style coffee but stronger
* Caffe corretto – coffee “corrected” with a shot of grappa, cognac, or other spirits
* Caffe fredo – iced coffee drink
* Caffe hag – decaffeinated coffee
* Caffe latte – coffee mixed with hot milk; usually served in a glass for breakfast
* Caffe macchiato – espresso “stained” with a drop of steamed milk; really a small version of cappuccino
* Cappuccino – espresso infused with steamed milk and drunk in the mornings; never ever order this after lunch or dinner
* Granitadi di caffe con panne – iced coffee with whipped cream

Italians don’t drink coffee with any meal. In that regard, they are much like the French. The only exception is during breakfast when cappuccino is served with brioche and other breakfast treats. Most of the time, Italian coffee is only ordered after a meal and only the unwitting tourist orders cappuccino in a restaurant after lunch or dinner.

When you do order for Italian coffee after a meal, don’t ask for an espresso. Ask for un caffe, per favore.

How Italian Coffee is Made

There as many espresso machines in Italy as there are Italian coffee. From fully automatic espresso machines to lever piston espresso machines to even the classic aluminum espresso coffee maker, the choices are widely varied.

And just when you think you’ve got everything down, there are also the debates regarding the specific bean type to use. Italian coffee is often a heated battle between blade and burr grinders and factors like tamp pressure, water temperature, and humidity.

Lovers of Italian coffee even have their favorite caffeine haunts in the form of local torrefazione or coffee houses and barista who are valued for their ability to deliver a perfect caffe espresso.

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