Italian Coffee Culture Reliant Blog

You think you love coffee? Well, Italians love it more.

We cannot wait to tell you all about the Italian Coffee Culture.

Also, we don’t want to jump right in and tell you about it

without learning more about its very origin and all the legends that surround it.

One legend about coffee is that a shepherd from Ethiopia named Kaldi noticed

that his sheep were extremely active after drinking coffee

and then he tasted the beans and discovered the high level of energy.

The rest of the story you can find in our article named Coffee Culture in Ethiopia.

When did coffee arrive in Italy?

Coffee arrived in Venice, Italy in 1570. 

Initially, however, coffee wasn’t something people were looking forward to.

Adventurous European travelers returning home spread the word

about mysterious and mystical lands of the East, 

and they brought back an exotic and intoxicating liquor.

In the eyes of Catholics, it was the ‘bitter invention of Satan,’ 

with a whiff of Islam, 

and suspiciously similar to wine used for the Orthodox rituals 

in any case, “The Devil’s Drink” was outlawed.


Soon after Pope Clement VIII drank it himself, he gave coffee its blessing

and the business continued to flourish.

Since that moment Italy became synonymous with coffee.


Can you imagine that by 1763 there were 218 coffee shops in Venice?

Artists and intellectuals would gather in these coffeehouses and spend time 

exchanging ideas and experiences. In a minute, we’ll talk about the current situation 

of Italians bars and coffeehouses but we first have to mention 

the first coffeehouse opened in Italy – The Caffè Florian.

Cafe Florian - Italian Coffee Culture

 If you ever decide to visit Venice and sit down for a cup of coffee,

you can’t certainly miss this beautiful café 

because it is located at Piazza San Marco. 

It was named after his owner, Florian 

and it was the only one to allow entrance to women.

We hoped you’d love to read more about the café, its rooms,

how for example Casanova and Goethe were once drinking coffee 

inside this historic establishment and so on. 

Therefore, you can read here more about 

the history of the Cafe Florian firsthand.

 Crowded bars in Italy

Bars in Italy/ Italian Coffee Culture

Since we are talking about cafes, we can’t forget to mention what bars are in Italy.

“Bars” are associated with the joy of having a coffee or an aperitif 

at any time of day, and they are certainly a place 

that illustrates the spirit of Italy and Italians abroad.

Bars are a daily routine to Italians. 


In most Italian bars (remember, a bar is like a café in Italian), 

people enter, order drinks at the counter, converse, and then walk out. 

Drinking coffee in Italy is a quick ritual.

There is no coffee-to-go culture in Italy, 

so this is the most traditional way of getting coffee.

You will, however, find plenty of spots to sit down 

and linger over the paper for a while,

or in the summertime,

 you can have a shakerato outside while you people watch.  


Coffee Types in Italy

Wait, a shakerato? Yup, look how delicious it all looks.

Shakerato Coffee in Italy /Italian Coffee Culture

You prepare it by mixing the espresso coffee 

with sugar syrup and ice cubes. 

This drink is one of the freshest

and most popular in Italy during hot summer days.

The foundation in Italy though is un caffè. Simple, right? 

Caffè is essentially a single shot espresso served black.

Instead of ordering a doppio, or double, 

Italians will return to the barista 

if they need more caffeine.

Another very important thing to consider

 is ordering a latte in an Italian bar. 

If you order a latte, you’ll get a glass of milk.

Sounds funny and strange, 

but remember – experience Italian Coffee Culture as it is.

Pretty soon, you’ll get accustomed to their way of drinking 

and ordering coffee.

Has someone ordered an Italian Cappuccino? After 11 am? Please, leave the bar. Now.

Cappuccino - Italian Coffee / Reliant Coffee Service in South Florida

It’s time to know the truth behind this “rule”. 

You see, Italians are obsessed with digestion and consuming milk 

after lunch is a big no for them health-wise. 

Maybe you don’t fall under this category, therefore go ahead and

order any type of milky coffee at any time while in Italy.

The opinionated waiters might give you a weird look 

but we believe they are so far pretty accustomed to

this “ odd” favor especially in big cities. 

Want something in between an espresso and un cappuccino?

Macchiato / Italian Coffee Culture

Macchiato will do the job. It means “stained” in Italian, too. 

Which further means, the milk stains, the espresso.

The next one we want to present is CAFFÈ LUNGO.

Cafe Lungo / Italian Coffee Culture

Caffè Lungo is a form of Italian coffee made in an espresso machine.

It is essentially an espresso with about 

double the amount of usual water in it. 

Sorry, for those of you who don’t speak Italian, Lungo,

you may have guessed it right means “long”. 

Lungo and Americano are not the same. Don’t confuse the two.

Ever thought of mixing coffee with alcohol?

Maybe, just maybe you’ve considered this combo once in your lifetime. 

Caffe Corretto is a great choice then.

Before the dinner is ready, after a long day of work we believe

you deserve an espresso spiked with alcohol.

Coffee Correto / Italian Coffee/

In order to give you more insight into Italian Coffee Culture

and see how beautiful it is 

we have to include coffee called caffè sospeso.

You buy one coffee and pay for two, 

leaving one of them “suspended”.

This is an act of generosity.

In some places in Italy, 

the generosity now extends to the suspended

pizza or sandwich, or even books.

Is there Starbucks in Italy?

 Starbucks shops are a pretty common sight in the world,

but not in Italy though.

Starbucks owner knew what the risk would be.

He realized how difficult it was to compete

with such a well established coffee culture.

But fear not! 

If you happen to be in Milan by any chance, 

you just might come across a few Starbucks coffee shops.

Giampaolo Grossi, general manager of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Milano, said that “Customers can also enjoy a food experience

that is bespoke for the Milan palate, 

from fresh, filled-to-order croissants 

to a warmed panini from the grill.

And while the company has tailored its offer for Milan,

customers have in turn embraced Starbucks Third Place

– between work and home – 

where they can come to study, catch up with friends

or simply take a moment out of their day 

to relax over a warm cup of coffee.



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