Ordering a coffee in Italy

Above: A classic caffè macchiato (not cappuccino).

In Italian, an espresso is called simply caffè or caffè espresso

A caffè can be served ristretto or corto, i.e., with less water, more flavor and aroma, and less caffeine.

It can also be served lungo, with more water, less flavor and aroma, and more caffeine.

A caffè can be macchiato (MAH-kee-AH-toh), literally “spotted” with a dash of steamed milk.

It can also be corretto or spiked with a distillate, often grappa but also brandy (fruit distillate).

And a caffè can also be served liscio, without the addition of anything. (In the morning, you’ll often hear the barista ask her/his patrons if they’d like their espresso liscio or macchiato since many people drink their coffee macchiato in the morning.

We’ll devote another post to the art of the cappuccino. But in the meantime, please remember: Italians never drink cappuccino after 11 a.m.! Live like an Italian: drink your cappuccino only in the morning (there’s a reason for this).

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