Our Italian Kitchen Table

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Coffee Culture: The rules to drinking coffee Italian Style

What to go for first thing in the morning? While Italians are envied for their leisurely lunches, breakfast is a much quicker affair. Smooth, creamy and accompanied only by a nutty cornettocappuccino serves as the national breakfast in Italy. Have it on-the-go at a nearby bar en-route to work, in typical Italian fashion.

What about for a pick-me-up? Much like the British infatuation with tea, Italians live for their caffè. For a quick refreshment, stick to espresso or macchiato. At the weekends, the caffè is a chance to appreciate la dolce di fare niente (the sweetness of doing nothing). Coffee takes centre stage in smaller local communities in Italy, and you’ll often find groups lounging in sunny piazzas with their little tazzina flicking through the newspaper or chatting away with the local barristas.

What do I offer my guests? Italians frown at a milky brew. Tea in Italy will be drunk rarely, and only with lemon and sugar. Switch up your classic afternoon ‘tea’ and offer guests an invigorating caffè, pehaps with a homemade biscotti.

How about after an evening meal? After dinner, the real fun begins: it is time to blend your coffee with an ammazzacaffè (‘coffee-killer’). The liqueur of choice varies from region to region, from grappa in Veneto to limoncello in Campania.

Just like Italian style, coffee culture in Italy remains timeless. Take inspiration and enjoy your caffè undressed, as it should be.

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