Caffe Bars in Italy

At most coffee bars, first you go to the cashier and pay for what you’ll order. The cashier gives you the bill which you present to the barista at the bar counter as you order. An efficient system for busy bars where many people come and go within minutes.

Most bars are so small so you stand at the counter as you drink your coffee and eat your croissant. In larger bars, especially those in major tourist areas and famous piazzas like Piazza San Marco in Venice, if you sit down at a table where a waiter serves you, you’ll pay at least double the price of the stand-up coffee. If you plan to linger over your cappuccino to admire the architecture and views and enjoy the friend you’re with, sit down, stay for awhile and soak up some “dolce vita”.

Some Italian coffee lingo:
1.If you order “coffee” or “caffe”, you’ll get espresso. For a weaker coffee, order “caffe Americano” or a “caffe lungo”—a long coffee.
2.If you order a “latte” like you might at Starbucks, you’ll get what you asked for—“latte” or milk. The barista will ask you if you want it hot or cold. Order “caffe latte.”
3.“Caffe macchiata” is espresso with a drop of milk in it.
4.A “caffe latte” has more milk and less foam than a “cappuccino”.
Local bars in Italy are where the regulars grab their quick expresso in the morning and later drop back in for a quick drink and conversation with the other regulars…really a gathering place for the neighborhood. In the morning, you will find a selection of pastries to accompany your coffee and in the afternoon a variety of freshly made panini (sandwiches). Soda, wine, and liquor are also to be had.
(from Mamma Margaret & friends)

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