Coffee is an integral part of Italian culture and since arriving here over six months ago, I have definitely drunk a lot of it!
Of course, coffee is also very popular in the UK but coffee culture in Italy is a completely different story. In Italy, when you order a coffee in a café or bar, you are presented with a tiny, bitter espresso. This is ‘normal coffee’ for Italians and they are not so keen on the huge coffees that we drink in the UK. In addition, whilst takeaway coffee is extremely popular amongst Brits, it is not very common at all in Italy, especially in non-touristy areas. Generally, Italians prefer to drink their tiny coffees whilst standing at the bar and, for many, this short break is an important part of their day.
Typically, breakfast in a bar in Italy involves a coffee and a pastry. I have been spoiled for choice with lovely cafés in the Italian town I’m living in. These cafés sell an array of mouth-watering pastries – either plain or decadently filled with cream, chocolate, jam or Nutella – as well as delicious coffee. Cappuccinos are very popular at breakfast time and, for me, a creamy cappuccino and a pastry full of Nutella is the perfect way to start the day. I think it’s a nice ritual to head to a bar to grab a coffee and a brioche for breakfast before work and it’s a luxury to take more time to indulge in such a breakfast at the weekend.
Finally, I have found that coffee in Italy is so much cheaper than coffee in the UK. Normally, an espresso or a macchiato (an espresso with a drop of milk) costs around a euro and a cappuccino about €1.50! They are small, of course, but this means that in Italy it is possible to go out for coffee regularly without breaking the bank.
Do you drink coffee? Is Italian coffee culture similar to the coffee culture in your country?