When in Rome

I’m going to Rome. If I could live, breathe, die and be Roman, I would. The trip is still a few months away which gives me time to brush up on my Italian but more importantly, all the variations of Italian coffee and espresso of which I plan to drink copious amounts. You see, this will be my first visit to Italy as a coffee drinker. 

In preparation for my caffeinated holiday, I have been studying the various Italian coffee drinks and their terminology. I thought I’d share because after all, who actually knows what macchiato means!?! So for your enjoyment – Coffee: Italian style!

Espresso – a basic brewing style and the foundation for a variety of  espresso based drinks. Espresso is thick and flavorful, made by forcing water through a finely and freshly ground coffee under pressure. NOTE: In Italy, ordering a caffè will get you an espresso, not brewed coffee.

Caffè Lungo – translates to a “long coffee.” This is made by letting extra water pass through the espresso grinds. This produces a more bitter version of the espresso as the bitter part of the bean appears towards the end of the pulled shot.

Caffè Americano – is a “lengthened” espresso. This is made by adding hot water to an espresso after the shot is pulled. This weakens shot. I’m still learning how this works but I had one at Joe and the Art of Coffee and it was sweet and delicious. (This is not Italian but I thought I ought to mention it to all us Americanos!)

Caffè Macchiato – is an espresso that has been “stained”  with just a dollop of frothed milk. The term “macchiato” derives from the Italian word “macchiare” which means “to stain.”

Latte Macchiato – is a cup of steamed milk (no froth) which has been “stained” by a shot of espresso. It is the opposite of the caffè macchiato. This sounds wonderful for when a late in the day time out is needed without the huge caffeine boost. (Yum.)

Cappuccino – the art of the cappuccino lies in the frothing of the milk. The milk should be warmed and frothed but never allowed to separate into milk and dry foam. This gives the milk a lighter consistency than a caffèlatte. The name, “cappuccino” may have come from its similar shade of color with the robes of the Capuchin monks. 

Caffèllatte – is made of equal parts espresso and hot milk (not frothed). This is our universal latte.

Caffè Corretto – is an espresso which is then “corrected” by adding a splash of liquor. (Oh no! Not alcohol!) Grappa (brandy) or whiskey seem popular (not that I would know personally ) but the one that tempts me the most is Sambuca – an italian, anise flavored liquor. (I wonder how all my Mormon friends will feel if I fall off the wagon with this Word-of-Wisdom no-no?) 

Caffè Marocchino – This is an espresso sprinkled with cocoa powder then topped with a dollop of steamed milk.

Compano – This one I learned from Charo over at Joe and the Art of Coffee. It is a shot of espresso topped with a large dollop of whipped cream. The drink then sits, allowing the espresso to seep into the cream. I’m excited to try this!

Tiramisu – okay! It’s not a coffee drink, but if you took a Correto, Compano, Caffèlatte, and Caffè Marocchino and poured them all in a pan with some lady fingers and put it in the fridge….

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi – love your blog – and your sense of humor! You will probably find most places in Roma will serve espresso or cappuccino – maybe a cafe lungo. But don’t be afraid of the Autogrills on the Autostrade – they serve some of thre best coffee around!
    If you truely become a coffee addict like me, you will find a need for huge mugs even for espresso con latte — and then comes the joy of collecting espresso pots (you cannot imagine how many there are!).

    1. Mormon Girl says:

      Dear Bonnie,
      Grazie millie for your lovely comment! It cheers me on to write more.
      By the way, are Autogrills the Italian version of diners on the highway? And where can I collect espresso pots?! I already have a collection of cafe au lait bowls. This sounds like a new and wonderful addiction!


  2. NSH says:

    My personal favorite is the Americano – not Italian, but a delicious drink indeed. (Decaf, of course, unless you want me to peel the paint off the walls.)

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