Coffee. It’s the one thing so many of us around the world cannot start the day without. In Italy, the beverage is more than a cultural mainstay — it’s a way of life.
Coffee in Italy dates back almost 500 years, when the vibrant port of Venice was introduced to the dark liquid through the merchants from North Africa, Egypt and the Middle East. From there, Venice saw the opening of Europe’s first coffee house, which later spawned to hundreds of other coffeehouses in the major cities of Italy.
Even though the drink didn’t originate here, Italy is indisputably the beverage’s spiritual home. It gave the world its own lingo — espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte — together with the world’s first steam-driven espresso machine.
How to drink coffee in Italy like a local
Italians start their morning with a cup of coffee, and maybe a pastry or two if they’re feeling hungry. The regular price of a cuppa is charged if customers take it standing up at the bar, but this price doubles if the coffee is taken while being seated at one of the tables. Coffee is often served alongside a glass of water to cleanse your palate before and after as well.
In Italy, an espresso or a ristretto is the go-to option for any hour of the day. Inspired by this iconic drinking tradition, Nespresso has also come up with the Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano, best for those who enjoy an even more caffeinated kick.
Milk coffees such as the cappuccino or a caffe latte would only be ordered in the morning hours to avoid indigestion. In case you’re feeling lost with these caffeinated terms, here are some of the most commonly used terms for your next order in Italy.
Espresso: A single, 3 ounce shot of espresso, usually served in a demitasse porcelain cup.
Doppio: Double, meaning two shots of espresso.
Lungo: An espresso that has twice as much water, resulting in a thinner brew.
Ristretto: An espresso that uses half the amount of water, resulting in a highly concentrated brew.
Macchiato: An espresso that has a splash of milk or milk foam.
Cappuccino: Espresso made with equal parts steamed milk and topped with foamed milk.
Caffe Latte: A large cup of milk topped with a shot of espresso. If a customer orders just a Latte, a glass of milk will be served.
Caffe Shakerato: Espresso shaken with ice cubes with simple syrup, often served in a cocktail glass.
Regional differences in coffee around Italy
Just like pasta, there are regional differences when it comes to coffee in Italy. Some regions have a favourite type of coffee, while others may have a special way of making it. In general, coffee in Italy differs greatly depending on whether you’re in the north or the south. Southern Italians have a preference for strong flavours and creamy textures, while north Italians lean towards delicate aromas and sweeter aftertastes.
Italian coffee in Venice
No city is quite like Venice. Once at the crossroads of two civilisations, Venice houses a unique blend of Italian Renaissance art and Byzantine-influenced architecture, all atop a lagoon. The first European city to experience a taste of this invigorating drink, Venetians cultivated the culture of personal coffee blends. Locals also tend to lean towards a much sweeter tasting coffee compared to other regions.
Venice’s past is expressed through Nespresso’s Ispirazione Venezia, with slow-roasted grounds to harmonise the Arabica and Robusta portions of the blend. In this cup, find a harmony of fruity and floral aromas, paired with a distinct cereal fragrance and luxurious notes of sweet caramel to top it all off.
Italian coffee in Naples
Naples has always been overlooked by the likes of Rome and Milan, or perceived as a springboard to the famed Amalfi Coast. However, the southern Italian city is home to an amalgamation of awe-inspiring art and incredible panoramas of Posillipo, Phlegraean Fields, Nisida, and Vesuvius, just to name a few. In Naples, coffee is served in a heated cup to preserve its temperature, which is said to enhance the flavour of the beans to its fullest. A local favourite is to have their coffee with hazelnut cream, a local ingredient from the region.
Nespresso’s Ispirazione Napoli was created to reflect the soul-stirring energy of Naples. Each cup manifests itself in an intense roast that is low in acidity, with pleasantly bitter cocoa notes. It is best paired with milk to reveal a rich caramel aroma with a velvety, creamy body.
Italian coffee in Rome
Italy’s buzzing capital is one of the world’s most romantic and charismatic cities. Modern life and technology find themselves fused with the grand, atmospheric ruins, exhibiting a kind of vibrancy that no other capital city has. The coffee of choice here is the simple espresso, perfect for the busy lives of its citizens.
Paying homage to the city, Nespresso’s Ispirazione Roma is short, light roast, complete with woody and cereal notes for a drink brimming with elegance. When served as a cappuccino, expect a creamy, caramel sweetness with an enhanced flavour profile.
Nespresso’s ISPIRAZIONE ITALIANA range is inspired by the coffee culture in Italy. Each blend was specially created to honour an Italian city’s distinct taste and local life. With ISPIRAZIONE ITALIANA, you don’t have to travel beyond your home for a taste of Italia.
Complimentary tastings for the Nespresso ISPIRAZIONE ITALIANA range are available at all Nespresso boutiques. This includes the other flavours: Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar, Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano, Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio and Ispirazione Genova Livanto.
To celebrate Italy’s coffee culture, Nespresso is having an exclusive special with machine offers of 20 percent (not applicable for bundles) from 25 Feb 2020 to 9 Mar 2020 so that you won’t have to spend a day without a good brew.
The machines and the ISPIRAZIONE ITALIANA flavours are available online and at all Nespresso boutiques (ION Orchard, VivoCity, Raffles City, Takashimaya and Tampines Mall pop-up store). Hop on to their website, Instagram page @nespresso.sg and their Facebook page here for more.