Italian Coffee - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Coffee was introduced to Italy in the 1500s from Egypt through the port of Venice. During the early years of Italian Coffee, this exclusive beverage was very expensive, and thus reserved for wealthy aristocrats. Initially, coffee in Italy was considered sinful due to its eastern roots and was deemed a threat to Christianity. Pope Clemente VII was urged to banish the drink, but upon tasting it he was instantly captivated by its flavor and aroma and soon declared Italian Coffee a Christian beverage.

The first Italian café opened in Venice, Italy in the mid 1600s. Cafés soon spread throughout Italy to towns such as Milan, Rome, Florence, and Naples. By the mid 1700s there were over 200 cafés in Italy. Italian Coffee was often dubbed an "intellectual beverage", as coffee became synonymous with stimulating conversation in a relaxing and stylish atmosphere. Coffee was credited by some Italian physicians for its restorative properties and even considered a "cure-all" by some.

By the turn of the 20th century, Italian inventor Luigi Bezzera built the first espresso machine that forced water through packed ground coffee, creating a stronger beverage. This beverage is brewed much quicker than regular Italan Coffee, and accordingly, was named espresso, meaning "fast" in Italian. Today most every Italian family has some sort of espresso maker in the home. Italy has done much to advance the status of Italian Coffee worldwide, as cafés, espresso and its variants, and the Italian appreciation of coffee have all been passed from Italy to countries throughout the world.

Types of Italian Coffee

  • Caffè (espresso) – a single shot of espresso served in a small cup
  • Caffè Americano – a watered down espresso served in a large cup that is considered stronger than American coffee but weaker than Italian coffee
  • Caffè Doppio—a double shot of espresso, served in a slightly larger cup than a regular espresso
  • Caffè Freddo – an espresso served cool or cold
  • Caffè Hag – decaffeinated coffee
  • Caffè Latte – hot milk with a shot of espresso served in a glass
  • Caffè Lungo – a watered down, weaker espresso made by allowing more water to pass through the ground coffee
  • Caffè Macchiato – espresso with a drop of steamed milk
  • Caffè Marocchino – espresso with steamed milk and a touch of cacao powder
  • Caffè Ristretto – a more concentrated yet less bitter shot of espresso
  • Cappuccino – espresso and steamed milk topped with foamed milk – consumed in Italy for breakfast
  • Granita di Caffè – an icy slushy espresso beverage topped with cream
When searching for gourmet coffee online, look no further than