How to Order and Enjoy Espresso in Italy

If you are dreaming of traveling to Italy and immersing yourself in the Italian café culture, then you might be surprised that there are specific, unwritten rules to follow. And one of the key rules is… how to order and consume an espresso in a café.

Italian Coffee Drinking Rules Infographic

When you enter a café in, say, Rome, you will see people standing at the bar, gesturing and speaking loudly. That’s where you order and consume the famous espresso – al banco, meaning “at the bar” in Italian.

However, you first need to head straight to the cashier at the bar, wait patiently in line, order the espresso, and pay first. Once you get the receipt, you’ll move to the barista at the bar and shout your order. Shout you must, as the Italian cafés are full of noisy, friendly Italians. 🙂

When you get your espresso, you drink it in quick sips, usually three, and don’t forget to exchange a few words with the barista on the latest scandal in Rome. Once you’re done, that’s it – do as the locals do and leave. You’ll be back for another one during the day, several times.

This is just one of the rules explained in the handy infographic created by Med Cruise Guide below. Explore it and learn all the 10 rules of enjoying coffee in Italy for your next trip.

And if you find yourself traveling to Rome, here are 5 coffee bars that you cannot afford to miss:

1. Tazza d’Oro

In case you’re visiting the famous Pantheon in Rome, this cafe is just around the corner. It is regarded as one of the top cafes in Rome where you can get unique coffees mixed with ice cream, or enjoy a variety of pastries with one of the best espressos in the Eternal City.

2. Bar del Cappuccino

If you want to follow the first Italian coffee drinking rule, then you should order a cappuccino only in the morning, with a nice pastry breakfast. As its name says, this bar makes an outstanding cappuccino, and you can enjoy a typical Italian breakfast here with tasty, sweet pastries with your morning cup.

3. Bramante’s Cloister Cafe Bistrot

This is the one café in Rome that uses a stem cocktail glass to serve an espresso! Located at 5 Arco della Pace, the coffee served at Bramante matches the sophisticated décor of the artistic bistro designed by Bramante, a famous Renaissance artist.

4. Barnum Cafe

If you’re looking for those picture-perfect, artistic cappuccinos, this is the place to visit. Its cozy atmosphere, inviting pastry and great service are an ideal combination for a break during your Roman adventure.

5. Caffé Greco

This is among the oldest cafes of Europe located just before the famous Spanish Steps at 86 Via Condotti. Visit this café to sit at the tables where intellectuals and artists like Gogol, Anderson and Goethe met to share ideas.

Italian coffee culture is specific indeed, but now you are equipped with the knowledge on how to order and enjoy coffee like the Italians do!

About Author: Anna Kay is an avid traveler, photographer and editor at She loves exploring and island-hopping across the Mediterranean, and enjoying local food specialties.
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