The folks at budget travel made a video on “how to order coffee like a Roman” before I could get around to doing it!! Unfortunately it cannot be embedded here, so please click this link to open the player in a new window.
The information is accurate and can be applied to ordering coffee in bars across Italy – there are only minor variations in nomenclature by region.
My only little correction is that the editor of the video says you can’t order cappuccino after 11am. The rule I know is that you can’t order it after lunchtime (and most certainly not along with or right after a meal!). The “rule” is because all that warm milk takes space in your tummy and so is considered breakfast. What rule do you abide by in Italy – if any?
Here is a working list of coffee names that applies pretty broadly to central Italy. Please Add any more types and variations in the comments section!
Caffe’: short coffee known as expresso
Caffe’ in vetro: expresso in a glass cup
Caffe’ lungo/ americano: expresso left to drip longer so that it’s “longer”, but nothing like starbucks
Moka: coffee brewed in a moka maker like Bialetti (see article on how to use this little machine!)
Caffe’ Hag: decaf (brand name that by extension includes all decaffeinated coffee)
Caffe’ macchiato freddo: expresso with a drop of cold milk
Caffe’ macchiato caldo: expresso with a drop of warm milk froth (like a mini cappuccino)
Cappuccino: expresso to which is added warm milk and its froth. Cocoa on top is optional.
Cappuccino senza schiuma: without foam, just expresso with warm milk
Caffe’ latte: kinda like a cappuccino senza schiuma, but even more warm milk (favourite for breakfast with dunked cookies)
Latte macchiato: warm milk with just a mini shot of expresso, usually served in tall glass
Caffe’ corretto: expresso with a shot of grappa or any other alcohol
Further reading on arttrav: How to make Italian coffee in your Bialetti moka (expresso maker)