And one of the things I was very keen to try whilst in Rome was their coffee because let's face it, Italians do the best coffee.
Although Italy didn't invent coffee, they were the first country in Europe to ever open a coffee house (it was actually Venice in 1629).
And one of the main things I wanted to do whilst in Rome was to discover as many coffee shops as possible.
I love learning about coffee and different coffee cultures, especially since I used to work as a coffee Barista.
I found the Rome and Italian coffee culture fascinating, so much so that I really wanted to write a post on all the stuff I learned, the places we visited and a few facts along the way.
Here are some quick coffee facts:
All coffee names originated from Italy
From Macchiato to Latte and Espresso - these are all Italian names. Although chain coffee shops use these names, they are originated from Italy. Even the size names are from Italy, from Primo for small, Medio for medium (or regular) and Massimo for large.
A Latte is literally just milk in Rome
Josh learned this the hard way when he ordered a latte and just got warm milk!
In the United Kingdom, it's natural to just walk up to a coffee shop counter and ask for a latte, as that is usually the standard hot milk with a shot of coffee in. But in Rome, you have to order a 'Caffe Latte' which means Coffee with Milk in Italian.
So when you visit Rome and want a latte, make sure you order a caffe latte to ensure you get your coffee kick!
Ordering a Cappuccino after 11am is weird
Literally. You will receive some strange looks.
Italians view cappuccino as a breakfast drink only, so you will find it quite difficult to find somewhere in the centre of Rome that offers cappuccino in the afternoon or evening.
You're charged more if you sit in with your coffee
Italian coffee culture means that you will be charged a different price for sitting down with your coffee than if you drink it at the bar.
Traditionally, Italians drink their coffee at the bar and go, as this is a local custom to enjoy a 'local breakfast' at a bar, rather than sit down. This includes a morning caffe (an espresso) and a cornetto (nope, not the ice cream kind, a crossaint filled with either jam, cream, chocolate or just plain) which is eaten at the bar.
So if you do fancy sitting in a coffee shop for breakfast, you will probably notice there's hardly anyone doing the same.
Rule of thumb: If you walk into a bar and someone asks you if you want to sit like they’re going to serve you, then know you’ll be charged a higher price. If no one asks you if you want to sit, and there are empty tables with people casually sitting here and there with their papers, then you’re probably fine to pay for your coffee, get it at the counter, and bring it to sit down.
Types of coffee you can order
Which literally means 'coffee'.
However be wary, as, in Rome, this means an espresso which is a single shot of coffee.
The favourite foamed milk topped espresso (the one you don't order after 11am!)
The closest thing to a 'normal coffee' which is just an espresso with hot water and optional milk.
This is something I have never come across before in the UK and had seen in all the coffee shops we visited in Rome.
It's essentially a "long" coffee i.e. a coffee with more water. Apparently, it's different to an Americano when I asked a barista in one of the shops we visited, as the difference actually happens at the espresso machine - while the espresso is being pulled, the process is slowed down, so there's twice as much water involved.
A "spotted" coffee. I always thought this was similar to a caffe latte, but this actually uses less coffee than what a latte does as its spotted with a "splash" of milk.
Not the ice cream type! But just as fun as it means a "corrected" coffee, meaning corrected... with alcohol!
Coffee shops we visited in Rome
A hidden gem of a coffee shop in the neighborhood of Monti which we were introduced to whilst on our Airbnb tour. And I fell in love with Barnum Cafe.
The name of this place struck me the most as it's named after P.T Barnum, the man who inspired the story of the Greatest Showman, so I had a good feeling this place was going to be very stagey!
With it's dark but quirky interior, mismatched chairs, huge wooden tables and brilliant coffee, if you're looking to escape the tourist traps, Barnum Cafe is the place to come. Plus, there's free Wi-Fi!
📍 You can find Barnum Cafe at Via del Pellegrino 87
Probably the best latte I had in Rome. Creamy, intense and goes great with one of their exquisite pastries - Pasticceria Barberini has it all.
We paid a bit more for the coffee and pastries, however, you get excellent service and they make you any coffee you desire! I asked for a cappuccino with chocolate and they served it with a little Italian biscuit on the side!
📍 You can visit Pasticceria Barberini at Via Marmorata 41, 00153
Probably the tiniest coffee shop I've ever stepped foot in (literally, there were 5 tables when we went in) and we luckily managed to grab one for ourselves!
The outside of La Casetta is covered with green ivy leaves, it's a charming little bar that serves coffee in a unique way. Our lattes came in what I could only describe as glass milk jars! Oh, and we had pancakes topped with Nutella too!
📍 You can find La Casetta at Via della Madonna Dei Monti 62, 00184
I hope you enjoyed this coffee guide as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Will you be visiting Rome anytime soon?