Why Italy defines our world coffee culture

Italian Coffee

Italy’s reputation as the driver of world coffee culture has been well earned. After all, the world’s first coffee house opened in Venice during the 16th century. The Espresso machine was invented in Italy (Turin 1884) and the first Moka pot was developed in Italy, by Bialetti (1933).

No culture on earth is as rooted in the enjoyment and celebration of food and drinks as Italian culture. And to every Italian, coffee is part of a popular culture that marks the moments of every day.

Italians begin each day with coffee and milk: Cappuccino, Caffè Macchiato, Caffè Latte, or Latte Macchiato are the popular choices. The ingredients are simple (coffee and milk)  but the blends in Italy are made completely differently to those in South Africa.

For lunch, Italians aren’t big on a quick sandwich in front of the computer. Italian-style lunch means real delicious food and real coffee (naturally). Throughout the day Italians will make any excuse for a coffee break, head for al banco (the bar), and order an espresso. They don’t order ‘to-go’ coffee because they love to stand at the bar, drinking their espresso while chatting with friends.

Choices include caffè ‘normale’ (regular single espresso), caffè ‘corretto’ (espresso with a drop of alcohol) or caffè ‘lungo’ (espresso with a part of hot water in it). Italians will drink one espresso only, the idea being to come back for another espresso later. 

Drinking an Italian coffee is an intense experience, and you absolutely must try it.  For a real coffee to be considered, it must follow important rules: the correct roasting point of the beans makes or breaks the aroma; the grinding of the beans must happen just before the brewing; and this must happen in some specific espresso machine (or particular moka pot) to satisfy traditionalists. 

As one might expect from Italy’s fascinatingly diverse regional flavours, any region has its own specialties, using the ingredients typical to the territory. That’s why no matter where they drink it, you’ll find espresso aficionados following their own rituals in their espresso drinking, while arguing over which method is best (naturally). Some sip, others gulp, many drink it with sugar, serve with chocolate, a twist of lemon or with sparkling water.

Enjoy coffee the Italian way when you order any one of our Illy coffee brand coffees. All the way from Trieste, since 1933, Illy is recognised for its Italian origins and enjoyed daily around the world.

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