The culmination of my Italian education

I've worked in my fair share of European coffee shops. Here's a little refresher on coffee- the way it's meant to be made. Perhaps a little caffeine will soothe the Monday morning blues? ;)


Caffè (coffee) - We call it espresso; a little cup of strongly flavoured coffee, topped with a caramel-coloured foam called "crema", an indicator of good quality.

Solo (single) - Single shot of espresso: typically 1 fl. oz/ 30 ml
Italians don't really sip and linger with their coffee, in fact they usually don't even sit down in the morning. An espresso shot is an actual shot. Pow!
Ristretto (restricted) or Espresso Corto (short) - Less hot water is forced through packed ground espresso, resulting in stronger flavour. Usually yields 1/2 fl. oz/ 20 mL.

Espresso Lungo (long): More water (about 1.5x volume) is forced through ground espresso, yielding a weaker taste. Yields 1.4 fl. oz/ 40 mL

Doppio: (double) - Two shots of espresso. Yields 2 fl. oz., 60 mL

Americano (American) - Espresso with the addition of hot water, served in a large glass. This is what you order in a European coffee bar when you "just want a coffee."
The Americano was created by American soldiers during WW1 who added hot water to dilute the strong taste of the traditional espresso.
Cappuccino: One-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third microfoam. Sometimes topped with cocoa powder or cinnamon.
Cappuccinos are reserved for the morning because Italians believe that drinking milk after meals tampers with digestion. Espresso is still consumed throughout the day and night.
Caffè latte (milky coffee) - Espresso with hot milk, a cappuccino without the foam usually served in a glass.
Although the name has been shortened to latte in North America, ordering a latte in Italy will get you a cup of hot, steamed milk- no coffee.
Caffè Macchiato (stained, spotted): A spoonful of hot foam or milk is added to the espresso.

Caffè freddo (chilled coffee) - Cold or iced coffee.


Affogato (drowned): Espresso served over gelato, traditionally vanilla.

Guillermo: One or two shots of hot espresso, poured over lime slices. Can be served hot or cold, with or without milk.

Caffe con Panna (coffee with cream) – Espresso with fresh-whipped cream.


  1. I definitely want to try the guillermo.

  2. You can start asking for a 'side of lime' with your coffee in the morning.

  3. Thanks for reading V. I hope all my posts will live up to your exacting standards :)