Lungo, macchiato, ristretto, corretto, with milk, ice, cocoa powder, or cinnamon. And then: hazelnut, pistachio, or lemon-flavoured, marocchino, brasiliano, and salentino… Italians request countless types of coffee at the bar, and you’d be right in arguing that we’re spoilt for choice…
Although on one hand we have learned the words to use in foreign languages to order an espresso around the world to be sure of receiving the same classic espresso served by our bars here in Italy, on the other hand, when we’re in Italy and want to enjoy an excellent coffee at the bar, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the variants on offer.
Let’s discover some of these together. They range from those that involve adding just one extra ingredient and those that are made using real mini-recipes.
Another point worth bearing in mind is the fact that variants of the variants also exist. In fact, to keep things simple, in some cases we have gathered under one heading many slightly different versions of a single type. The real possibilities of personalising the espresso from the bar are countless, but the list below is our attempt to round up the most popular ones.
30+2 different types of coffee that Italians request at the bar
- Caffè ristretto, short or “concentrated” coffee.
- Caffè lungo or “long” coffee).
- Caffè doppio or “double” coffee, which is even longer than a caffè lungo because, as its name says, it consists of a double shot of espresso.
- Caffè macchiato, coffee “stained” with some warm or cold milk. Here, the milk can be requested full-fat or skimmed.
- Caffè schiumato, or “foamy coffee”, which differs from a caffè macchiato in that the milk is whipped, forming a milky foam like the one on a perfectly-made cappuccino.
- Hot or cold caffellatte, known in English as a latte, and usually served in a tall, narrow glass.
- Caffè freddo, cold coffee slush, also usually served in a tall narrow glass.
- Caffè americano, a coffee that is not too strong because it is diluted in enough water to fill at least a cappuccino cup, sometimes served in much larger cups and glasses.
- Caffè corretto, coffee laced with different types of spirits, depending on the drinker’s taste.
- Caffè shakerato, or iced coffee.
- Coffee with cream, bearing in mind that cream can be added to all the types of coffee in the list.
- We’re including the standard cappuccino in this list even if many variants of this drink are available at the bar.
- Mini Cappuccino, which is the classic cappuccino, but in a miniature version, served in a small, espresso cup.
- Mocaccino, here, the ingredients used are the same ones used in a cappuccino, but with chocolate, cream, and finally cocoa powder. It is made differently from bar to bar.
- Decaffeinated coffee for those who refuse to give up the taste of coffee but want to limit their caffeine intake.
- Hazelnut coffee.
- Gianduja coffee.
- Lemon coffee, consisting of a classic espresso to which lemon cream or a few drops of lemon juice are added.
- Pistachio coffee and many other similar flavoured coffees: these are made by adding a condensed cream of the customer’s chosen flavour rather than an extract, but sometimes the flavour is added in its natural state, as in the following type of coffee…
- Coffee with cow’s milk ricotta.
- Latte macchiato, where the main ingredient is milk, with just a spot of coffee added to “stain” it.
- Cinnamon coffee, made by adding a small piece of natural cinnamon or a sprinkle of powdered cinnamon to espresso coffee.
- Caffè marocchino, a foamy coffee with cocoa powder added to the surface.
- Cinnamon-flavoured caffè schiumato, similar to a marocchino but with powdered cinnamon instead of cocoa.
- Coffee with cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or cocoa powder.
- Caffè schiumato with cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.
- Iced caffè salentino, invented in Lecce. This is made by placing two ice cubes in a short glass shaped like a whisky tumbler, then adding almond milk or almond concentrate, and an espresso, freshly made with the bar’s espresso machine.
- Caffè del nonno, or “grandfather’s coffee”, a version in which the sugar is replaced with a coffee cream made in advance by beating sugar and the first drops of espresso to emerge.
- Caffè brasiliano, or Brazilian coffee, made with cocoa powder and whisky cream.
- Caffè sospeso: the so-called “suspended coffee” is not a type of coffee, but the name for a cup of coffee we kindly pay for in advance, leaving it so that a stranger can enjoy a cup of his or her favourite beverage without worrying about paying for it.
Then, although they are not technically coffees since they are made with completely different products, Italians commonly request a barley or ginseng drink at the bar by preceding these types with the word “caffè”:
- Barley coffee made, in fact, with barley and not coffee, which can be served in a large or small cup, a cappuccino cup or a small espresso cup.
- Ginseng coffee, another coffee-free variant, instead containing – obviously – ginseng.