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 (REE-streh-toh or COHR-toh), 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 (cohr-REHT-toh) or spiked with a distillate, often grappa but also brandy (fruit distillate).

And a caffè can also be served liscio (LEE-shoh), 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 (MAH-kee-AH-toh) 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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