Twenty three days in Italy… wow, it was great! I toured most of the country, starting in the north in the Alps and getting all the way down to Sorrento in the south. I tried cappuccino’s everywhere and took a lot of photos. This post will be expanded as I have time to optimize photos.

Coffee in Italy:

  1. There are no flavored syrups
  2. Nobody drinks huge lattes
  3. You pay for your drink first at the cashier, then give your receipt to the barista who prepares your drink
  4. Grind-per-shot: Only saw it done once in 23 days
  5. They barely tamp the grounds before pulling the shot
  6. Three-group espresso machines were common, some coffee shops even had 2 three-groups
  7. Nearly all hotels provide breakfast and with that comes coffee, the hotel staff is surprisingly capable and can make you a drink

The very first day, at the very first hotel, I had this cappuccino. It was the best cappuccino the entire trip. And it was made by the hotel staff.

Another view of the same cappuccino above.

A macchiato from the same hotel in Milan.

Arizona Coffee

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  1. I knew it and I was waiting for it. This is a great event, of all people I know I wanted Tingom to be the one that visit Italy and experience coffee. One of my friends told me that in Italy coffee is regarded more like bread than anything else. For instance here in the good USA, in every restaurant the kitchen staff may pay attention to the bread but not the coffee. I have furbished restaurants with espresso equipment and the servers rather place an out of service sign on it than run the machine when they get busy. On the other hand the Italian customers that I have here in USA place a lot of attention to the coffee (mainly by buying italian brands) but they might not care about the “american coffee” like they call it. Thank you Chris for the article. Great title!

  2. Luz

    I had a similar experience in Italy. It was lovely to have confidence that every cup of coffee was going to be amazing. The best americano I’ve ever had was in a tiny little restaurant in Manarola, Cinque Terre. I still remember it with fondness…

  3. So what is done to make coffee here taste so good. They clearly aren’t trying that hard.

  4. When I read the title, I read it to the tune of “No Cats in America” (song in An American Tail). Sounds good to me. I am frustrated by otherwise good coffee shops that only have paper cups.

    I’m glad you had a great trip!

  5. Thanks Chris for the America-Italy comparison. Strange that half your points make me want Italian coffee, the other half make me want to avoid it.

    After all, America is known for the hamburger.

  6. Italian coffee. We can say that could be Colombian (or any blend) coffee roasted by a artisan roaster in Italy. I ponder what could make it different from a Colombian coffee roasted in Glendale. Perhaps the perception that you are in a place with a high culture-regard for the product may have something to do with this. Scientifically if the water is similar, the extraction method is similar and the roasting technic is similar we should have similar coffee. We have benched in the past Illy, segafredo, Lavazza, Mocarabia etc against coffees roasted in Arizona and the Arizona coffee was fresher and tasted better (due to shipping issues the Italian roasted coffees were not fresh). Of course when we did the experiment we try the coffee without sugar or milk. I think that ones you have all your senses programmed to enjoy something you will enjoy it. Also the fact that even in a restaurant or a hotel lobby you find people that care about the product makes a huge difference. Next, we are going to fly in baristi from Venezzia and do a barista jam against our own USA dudes.

  7. “Next, we are going to fly in baristi from Venezzia and do a barista jam against our own USA dudes.”

    Haha……….let’s make sure we have the home field advantage!

    Seriously, I like the way Italianos never use their fingers to level with. That’s one thing that’s always bugged me about the Americano way. I don’t care if the puck gets hit with 200 degree + water. It jus’ don’ seem right.

  8. Italians aren’t ‘not trying too hard’, it’s just that to an Italian, barista is a career path, and here it tends to be considered a paper-hat gig while you’re in school. They have their technique down so that it happens every time. It may seem effortless, but as we say in fencing, With practice comes skill; with skill, ease; with ease, grace.
    And the not grinding per shot is probably due to the volume that they do. The doser allows the grinder to keep up with the demand, as opposed to setting the pace. There is nothing wrong with grinding ahead of time, as long as those ground have water through them in ten minutes or less.