Why is Coffee So Popular in Italy?

Why is Coffee So Popular in Italy

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Countries around the world love waking up to a nice piping hot cup of coffee. Italy is no different. If anything, it leads the way in coffee consumption. So, why is coffee so popular in Italy?

Well, it all dates back to the 16th century. 

Looking at the History

In the 16th century, the coffee trade was expanding around the globe. Thanks to the ports in Venice, Europe was able to experience coffee for the first time. 

In no time at all, shops selling coffee started popping up all over Europe becoming popular for both socializing and buying it.

More forward to the year 1763 and a whopping 200 coffee shops were established in Venice. Although, not everyone was too happy with the arrival of coffee beans. In particular, the Catholic Church was livid and often referred to it as ‘a drink for the devil’. Eventually, this changed once Pope Clement VIII tried a cup of joe and decided he liked it.

Here Comes the Espresso

We’ve all heard of the word ‘espresso’. This fantastic little drink is thanks to the ingenious work of Luigi Bezzera. 

He set out with the idea to use pressurized water to go through a small puck of ground coffee, with the hope of making a concentrated drink. And as you probably can guess, he was very successful.

So why is it called an espresso? The reason for the name is because of how rapid the process is to make it. In a couple of seconds, boom, the drink is ready. 

Before long, new coffee bars started appearing, providing a hassle-free way of catching up on the latest news by reading a newspaper and sipping a quickly made espresso. A perfect combination for a businessman in a rush.

Coffee Advancements Continue

After the initial rush of coffee shops in Italy, things started to level out throughout WW2. Makes sense if you think about it, probably best to stay inside!

One convenient invention that made coffee drinking so easy at home was the Moka pot. Invented in 1933 by Turin’s Alfonso Bialetti, the Moka pot is a metallic stovetop pot that allows pretty much anybody to make a first-class espresso from the comfort of their own home. 

This handy piece of equipment went on to sell millions of units across the world, adding to the popular coffee culture we see in Italy presently.

Coffee Culture in Italy Today

Coffee shops in Italy are still going strong as they attempt to keep up with the demand of Italians across the country. There are over 58,000 coffee shops in Italy, which makes them the largest supplier of coffee cafés in Western Europe. 

Considering how small their population size is compared to others in Western Europe, it shows the Italians truly love their coffee. 

Do Italians Drink Coffee Every Day?

Coffee in Italy is more than just a beverage; it’s a way of life. Italians have embraced coffee as an integral part of their daily routine for centuries. 

The act of sipping a cup of espresso is a cherished ritual, often enjoyed multiple times a day. 

Whether it’s a quick morning pick-me-up, a mid-afternoon pause, or an after-dinner indulgence, coffee plays a central role in the Italian lifestyle.

While coffee is deeply ingrained in Italian culture, the frequency and quantity of consumption may vary among individuals. 

Some Italians do indeed drink coffee every day, making it an essential part of their routine. 

However, it’s important to note that not all Italians consume coffee in large quantities. 

Some may limit themselves to one or two cups per day, while others may indulge in several cups throughout the day.

What Is the Coffee Law in Italy?

Italians take coffee very seriously. 

If you find yourself in Italy and want to order a cappuccino after 12, it’s best to keep those thoughts to yourself and order something else. 

Many tourists have suffered the penalties of cold stares when ordering a cappuccino after 12 pm, something that no Italians ever do. 

Well, maybe it’s not that extreme, and maybe some Italians do order cappuccinos after 12 pm, but it’s an interesting unwritten rule that has been passed down from generations nonetheless. 

What Happens If You Ask For a Latte In Italy?

In many parts of the world, a “latte” typically refers to a popular espresso-based beverage made with steamed milk. 

However, in Italy, “latte” simply means milk. 

Therefore, if you walk into an Italian café and order a latte, you might receive a puzzled look or an amused smile from the barista, as he hands you a cup of warm milk.

Instead, it’s always best to order a caffe latte. This is exactly the same drink and roughly translates to ‘coffee milk’. 

Although this drink isn’t as popular in Italy as it is in many other western countries, you can still order it and the vast majority of cafes there will serve it. 

Embracing the Italian Coffee Culture

To truly experience the charm of Italian coffee culture, it’s worth immersing yourself in the local way of life. Here are a few suggestions:

Visit Local Cafés: Wander through the narrow streets of Italian cities, discover hidden gems, and experience the charm of neighborhood cafés. Engage with the locals, observe their coffee rituals, and savor the authentic Italian flavors.

Learn a Few Italian Phrases: Familiarize yourself with a few basic coffee-related Italian phrases. It’s not only a polite gesture but also a way to connect with the baristas and locals on a more personal level.

Embrace the “Slow” Coffee Culture: In Italy, coffee is not just a beverage to be hastily consumed. It’s an opportunity to pause, socialize, and enjoy the moment. Embrace the Italian concept of “dolce far niente” (the sweetness of doing nothing) and savor each sip.

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