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Beyond Espresso and Cappuccino: 5 Must-Try Italian Coffees

Italy, the birthplace of espresso, is a country where coffee isn’t just a beverage; it’s a cultural institution, a daily ritual, and a source of endless pleasure.

Italian coffee culture is rich and deeply ingrained in the daily routine of locals and visitors alike. If you find yourself in Italy this season, embarking on a journey through its coffee scene is an essential experience. While classics like espresso, cappuccino, and macchiato reign supreme, Italy offers a diverse array of lesser-known coffee drinks that every coffee lover must experience.

Here are five must-try coffees to savor during your Italian adventure:

Caffè Shakerato

When the Italian sun is beating down, and you’re in need of a refreshing pick-me-up, look no further than the caffè shakerato. This stylish beverage combines the boldness of espresso with the coolness of ice and a touch of sweetness. To prepare a caffè shakerato, baristas vigorously shake espresso, sugar, and ice cubes in a cocktail shaker until frothy and chilled, then strain it into a martini glass. The result is a rejuvenating coffee cocktail that’s as invigorating as it is elegant, perfect for beating the heat in style.

Caffè Shakerato. Ph. Marco Monettie on Flickr

Caffè Affogato

For a decadent coffee and dessert fusion, treat yourself to an affogato. This delight features a scoop of creamy gelato “drowned” in a shot of piping hot espresso. As the espresso meets the cold gelato, it creates a heavenly contrast of temperatures and textures, with the rich coffee flavor infusing every spoonful. Whether you’re winding down after a meal or simply craving a luxurious treat, an affogato promises to satisfy your sweet tooth and coffee cravings simultaneously.

Caffè Affogato. Ph. Sam Breach on Flickr

Caffè Marocchino

Delightfully decadent, the Caffè Marocchino is a luxurious treat for those with a penchant for chocolate. This indulgent drink features a shot of espresso served in a glass layered with cocoa powder and frothy milk. The contrasting layers create a symphony of flavors, with the bitterness of the espresso beautifully complemented by the richness of cocoa and the creaminess of milk. It’s a dessert-like coffee experience that’s sure to leave you craving more.

Caffè d’Orzo

For those seeking a caffeine-free alternative or simply looking to explore something different, Caffè d’Orzo is the perfect choice. Made from roasted barley, this traditional Italian coffee substitute offers a rich, nutty flavor profile reminiscent of roasted grains. Served as a comforting hot beverage, Caffè d’Orzo is often enjoyed as a soothing alternative to coffee, making it an ideal option for those seeking a lighter, caffeine-free option without compromising on taste.

Caffè Corretto

For those who appreciate a dash of daring in their coffee experience, the caffè corretto offers an exhilarating twist. Translating to “corrected coffee,” this bold beverage consists of a shot of espresso “corrected” with a splash of liquor, typically grappa, brandy, or sambuca. Whether enjoyed as a digestif after a hearty meal or as a spirited indulgence during a leisurely afternoon, this potent brew promises to enliven your senses and ignite your spirit.

Bonus tip: When ordering in Italy, it’s common for non-Italians to mistakenly expect coffee when they ask for a “latte.” In Italian, “latte” simply means “milk,” so requesting a “latte” will result in receiving just milk, not a coffee beverage. If you desire a coffee with milk, be sure to order a “caffè latte”. In this drink, milk is added to espresso, creating a coffee-based beverage. On the other hand, ‘latte macchiato’ has espresso added to milk, making it milk-based. For cold versions, request “freddo”, and for hot versions, “caldo”.

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