How to Enjoy Coffee in Italy – Learn the Unwritten Rules of the Italian Coffee Culture

This guest blog post comes from Anna Kay of Med Cruise Guide. Thank you, Anna, for your insight and informative infographic!

Anna Kay is an avid traveler, photographer and editor at MedCruiseGuide.com. She loves exploring and island-hopping across the Mediterranean, and enjoying local food specialties.

Want to enjoy coffee like the Italians do?

Well, get ready to enter the world of unwritten rules and rituals that define the Italian coffee culture and give it that unique charm.

This popular drink has been ingrained in the Italian way of life for centuries. They have invented many different types of coffee, and mixed it with whatever you could imagine (think ice cream, cognac, or cocoa powder).

However, when it comes to consuming coffee, if you don’t know the rules – you’re quite likely to get the awkward stare from the barista in a crowded cafe.

For example, order a cappuccino after 11am (i.e. any time after breakfast), and you’ll immediately look like an unprepared tourist. Italians enjoy these “milky coffees” only in the morning, with selected pastries.

Milk slows digestion in their opinion, and one should not burden their afternoons with this heavy feeling in the stomach. Therefore, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” – order a nice pastry breakfast and a wonderful, Italian cappuccino!

Feel like ordering a Grande to take it away with you and roam the cobbled-stone streets of Florence? You’ve just broken two rules, believe it or not.

First, Italian coffee does not come in increasing sizes (small, medium or Grande). Each famous type of coffee comes in a prescribed size and volume – espresso is always the standard same size, and macchiato is always the same, too.

Second, there is no take away coffee in Italy. In order to avoid that barista’s stare, order a nice espresso and enjoy it at the bar in a noisy cafe while exchanging daily gossip with the locals.

Need more Italian coffee drinking rules? Med Cruise Guide has created a handy infographic (below) that can help you immerse yourself in the Italian culture and enjoy coffee like the Italians do.



  1. Oleg Gordeev 01.23.18

    Thank you for the useful insight! Being an “unprepared tourist”, I used to order cappuccino any time of the day in Italy 🙂

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