Kape, coffee, kaffe, kopi, káva, java. Say it however you want, but most of us cannot start and last the day without at least one hot steaming cup of joe.
Some prefer black, others with milk and sugar, French pressed, brewed, or even instant. However you take your coffee, if you do drink it daily, then you’re one of the millions of people who consume around 2.25 billion cups of coffee worldwide every day.
Coffee has been around for at least a thousand years. According to an Ethiopian legend, a goatherder named Kaldi saw that his goats had eaten this berry-like fruit which boosted their energy. Kaldi, being the daring goatherder that he was, tried the fruit for himself. He felt energized soon after.
A monk, after witnessing what had happened to Kaldi and his goats, took some of the fruits back to the monastery for him and the other monks to eat. None of them could sleep that night because of the caffeine.
It would take hundreds of years before coffee was prepared the same way we do today. It was in the 13th century when people began to roast the beans, the first step in preparing coffee. At that time, coffee became a popular beverage among the Muslims in the Middle East for it helped them stay alert whenever they prayed.
Nowadays, there are so many variations of this drink and people worldwide drink their favorite coffee concoction whenever they please. There’s a Starbucks on every corner where one can order a tall caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream.
But did you know that in Italy, the Mecca of coffee aficionados, coffee variations, like the Frappuccino, are considered sacrilegious. The Italians believe that one should not mess with perfection.
Below are the different types of coffee one is “allowed” to order in Italy.
1. Caffe (Espresso)
Contrary to what the rest of the world believes, the term espresso is rarely used in Italy. It is a technical term which refers to how the coffee is produced. It literally means “pressed out.” So if you want to order the strong black concoction that is “espresso,” just say “caffe” instead.
Doppio is double espresso which means 2 servings of a single espresso in one cup. If you need to stay awake while working on a project, then the doppio is the perfect drink for you.
A cappuccino is basically 1/3 espresso (caffe), 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 froth. I have made a lot of cappuccino back in the day, and I must say it is quite frustrating not to get the right froth consistency.
In Italy, there is an unspoken rule that cappuccino or any coffee drink with milk like caffe latte, or latte macchiato should only be taken in the morning. Of course, you will still get served your cappuccino if you order it after lunch but be prepared to receive some unfriendly stares and giggles.
Americano is espresso with hot water. It is believed that the standard caffe (espresso) was too strong for Americans so they added hot water to it. This is what we normally drink in the morning. Some people add milk and sugar to it.
Macchiato is the less milky and frothy cousin of cappuccino. It is espresso mixed with hot milk and topped with foam. It is perfectly acceptable to drink a macchiato anytime of the day.
Marocchino is a shot of espresso, a layer of foam, and a sprinkle of cacao powder. It is served in a glass mug that has been dusted with cocoa powder. Perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
6. Caffe Latte
Non-Italians often mistakenly call this drink “latte” which means milk. The complete name is caffe latte, which is basically a combination of 1/3 espresso, 2/3 hot milk and some foam. Since this drink has a lot of milk, like the cappuccino, Italians tend to drink it in the morning.
7. Flat White
Flat white is an espresso based coffee drink and is very similar to cafe latte. It is made up of pure coffee and steamed milk but no foam. Hence the name. Also, it has a higher proportion of coffee to milk, making it stronger than caffe latte.
Glacé is more than just coffee, it can also be served as dessert after a hearty meal. It is made up of espresso, milk, and vanilla ice cream. Some people might add whipped cream. It is the perfect coffee drink/dessert to cool you down on a hot summer’s day.