Want to fit in with the locals when you travel to Italy? You must become an expert at ordering an espresso, the ultimate symbol of being a “Real Italian.” Italians are fanatics when it comes to finding the best espresso and will be quick to point you to the right Bar/Caffe in each town.
Whatever their means, Italians believe they always deserve the best. This includes that thick and frothy “caffé.”
When you have found the best coffee, you will then need to order like a local. If you hang around a caffé for a couple of hours, you will get very confused over the many ways Italians order their favorite drink.
Here are your insider tips on ordering an espresso in 10 different ways:
1.“Un caffé: This is the simplest way of ordering an espresso. You will get the house classic version of a single espresso. If you are not a fanatic about your espresso, this will do. In Italy, an espresso comes in a very small amount and is smooth, dark, creamy and delicious.
2. Un caffé: “macchiato” (spotted): This is a request for an espresso with a quick shot of frothy milk (in a much smaller amount than that found in a cappuccino).
3. Un caffé “corretto” (corrected): This is more popular than you may think, especially among men. It is a request to “correct” the coffee with one’s favorite aquavit or liquor of choice, such as “corretto al rum, corretto al cognac, corretto al …” (you fill in the blanks).
4. Un caffé “basso” (low): You are asking for a version of espresso that sits low in the cup (less water) and a stronger result.
5. Un caffé” ristretto” (narrow or condensed): This is a condensed version of espresso with less water, essentially the same as a caffé basso (above).
6. Un caffé alto (high): This version must appear higher in the cup than a regular espresso hence entails more water than a normal single espresso and is less strong.
7. Un caffé lungo (long): This is basically the same as a Un caffé alto (above).
8. Un caffé doppio (double): This is similar to what you can order in the U.S. It is the equivalent of two doses of espresso in one cup. A few of these double whammies and you will walk and talk a lot faster.
9. Un caffé al vetro (in glass): You are ordering your espresso in a glass rather than in a ceramic tazzina (espresso cup).
10. Un caffé in tazza grande (in a large cup): You prefer your tiny shot of coffee in a large cup. This is very trendy at the moment.
L. Serenella Leoni
Founder – Tuscany Lifestyle Expert
Serenella Leoni is the owner of Toscana Mia which is a business devoted to passionate living. She is a a native Tuscan now living in the San Francisco area.Her passion is to work with clients who want to experience the true Italy by providing them with elegant Italian villa rentals, Tuscany wedding assistance and sharing the latest news, advice and tips on the Tuscan lifestyle.Her clients include Visa International, the University of Pisa, General Electric, NASA business owners, writers, college professors, domestic goddesses, teachers, spiritual, artists and authors.Serenella Leoni is a regular contributing writer to the national edition of Examiner.com as the “Tuscan Lifestyle Examiner.” She is featured in the Sept.15, 2008 Chico’s Catalogue and website.She has been featured or quoted in CBSMarketWatch.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Vive Magazine, Healing Lifestyles and Spas Magazine, Gentry Magazine, the Kansas City Star, the Toronto Star, the Vancouver Sun, TangoDiva.com and other publications.