italian coffee tips

Italian Coffee – Is It the Most Neglected Roman Treasure on Your Itinerary?

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When we think of Rome, what most of us visualize is the great Vatican City. The destination serves to be a pilgrimage center for thousands of religious practitioners from across the world.

Renaissance frescoes and the work of Michaelangelo are what cover the tour itinerary of most Rome trips.

Nowadays, people like to stay more informed as they are concerned about what they eat and where they stay. For example, apart from checking the Roman weather, they might also check the pollen index or air quality in Rome before a trip.

If you are someone who also falls in this category, you would probably like to know more about Rome than what meets the regular eyes. In this article, we are going to talk about one such aspect of Rome that has become a part of our everyday lives. That’s coffee!

Did you know that Italy is responsible for introducing coffee to the rest of Europe? This article can help you find more about this hidden Italian gem if you are an avid coffee fan or expert and take a keen interest in the history of this beverage. You can make alterations in your itinerary to include it.

The History

The credit for bringing coffee to Italy goes to the Venetian Republic. The beans came from the Middle East. For the Venetians, it was love at the first brew. In no time, the Catholic Church became aware.

In 1600, Clerics being prudent of the beverage’s association with the Ottoman Empire got the Pope’s attention. They demanded a ban on the beans. To give a fair judgment, Pope Clement VIII tasted the drink.

It marked the historical incident now known as the ‘baptism of coffee.’ The Pope remarked, ‘This Satan’s drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it.’ Thus helping give rise to the Italian coffee culture.

The first coffee house came into existence in 1675 in Venice. As the appetite for coffee grew, the number of coffee shops kept increasing. A century later, the number touched two-hundred and eighteen.

The nineteenth-century saw the meteoric rise of the coffee business in Europe. The purest distillation that is the essence of the beans is the espresso.

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Where to Drink?

When you visit Italy, a striking difference that you will see is the establishments that have a bar written on the front window. The kind of entity that we associate bars with in the US or the UK is not the same in Italy.

The Italians use the word ‘bar’ to denote a café or caffé. Such entities sell food items like pastries, snacks, and alcohol, but their main business comes from coffee. These can have formats like – Coffee on the go or Fast coffee.

The establishments have no names put on before the word ‘bar.’ These are present across the cities of Italy. The ones that are present near the major tourist attraction spots and renowned squares are expensive.

If you are looking for an authentic experience, then you can head on to the side roads to enjoy your shot of espresso. These places are cheap and since not at the center are quieter than those at the main tourist areas.

Ordering Coffee

Tipping in Italy rules

Unlike other places, you can expect to pay for your coffee first after you enter the outlet. You can go to the cashier and pay for your caffè to place the order. You have to carry the receipt to the bar counter to get the beverage.

If you are outside, you can expect waiter service. If inside, it is better to order yourself to avoid your bill attracting additional service charges. There are a few popular coffees listed below that you can scroll through to know more about them.

Al Banca

Italians mostly prefer to order an on-the-go espresso. They drop by a bar and have their coffee while standing at the counter (al banca). The process takes less than five minutes, and therefore it comes cheap.

Al Tavolo

In Italy, it is unusual for the locals to drink their coffee sitting on a table (al tavolo). It is generally okay to do so in tourist areas where the same is in practice. However, if you indulge in a prolonged affair, the same will reflect in your bill too.

The Italians also have the custom to drink particular types of coffee at different points in the day. You can get to see raised eyebrows if you order a higher milk content coffee or cappuccino post noon.

So indulging in the coffee experience can be a pronounced aspect of your Rome trip. A fact worth mentioning is that Italy is also home to Luigi Lavazza’s iconic coffee brand Lavazza. If you are a health-conscious coffee lover, then the Italian way of having this beverage will surely amuse you.

Be sure to know the rules to avoid committing coffee faux pas!

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