Italy’s coffee is iconic for a reason. Many of the most beloved coffee drinks have Italian names that hint at their heritage – and they’re prepared using a method that was first invented in Turin.

Pick up a cup of your own and get ready to explore the rich history of coffee in Italy.

Several Centuries of Coffee History

17th Century: Italy’s First Taste of Coffee

The history of coffee in Italy begins in the 1600s. During that time, the bustling port city of Venice became one of the first European hubs to import coffee beans from traders of the Ottoman Empire.

18th Century: Coffee Culture Flourishes

Coffee houses flourished in the 18th century. Frequented by artists, aristocrats, and radicals alike, these meeting spaces centered around the drink’s rich flavors, pick-me-up properties, and ability to draw in good company and good conversation.

19th-20th Centuries: Dawn of the Espresso Era

But it wasn’t until the late 19th century that Italy introduced espresso to the market. Espresso isn’t a specific type of Italian coffee. Rather, it’s an efficient and concentrated brewing method that can be used on any type of coffee bean. This new Italian method completely changed the way people enjoy coffee around the globe.

In 1884, Angelo Moriondo earned a patent for his invention of “new steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage.” This technology continued to develop and delight customers. Ultimately, Luigi Bezzerra and Desiderio Pavoni introduced caffè espresso at the 1906 Milan International World’s Fair.

Now, as many 21st-century espresso drinkers can attest, the rest is history!

The Expression Behind “Espresso”

Italian coffee culture wouldn’t be what it is today without espresso. But what does the name itself mean?

Some people believe the term comes from the method itself since hot water is expressed or pressed through the coffee beans to produce the delectable brew. Others think it originally referred to the way each shot of espresso is prepared expressly for an individual – unlike pots of coffee that are already brewed and ready to serve.

Either way, it lends itself well to countless other types of coffee drinks, each with its own flavor and origin story. Here are just a few types of Italian coffee drinks – some are popular here in the U.S. meanwhile others are hallmarks of coffee culture in Italy:

  • Caffè macchiato: Translating to “stained coffee,” this beverage is prepared with espresso and a small amount of steamed milk.
  • Cappuccino: If you order a cappuccino, you can expect equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. The name was inspired by the cappuccino-colored robes worn by Capuchin monks.
  • Caffè latte: When you order a latte, meaning “milk,” you’ll get an espresso drink prepared with plenty of steamed milk and foam on top.
  • Caffè Americano: This type of drink was named after the way American soldiers in World War II would dilute their espresso with hot water.
  • Caffè con panna: Otherwise known as espresso with cream, this decadent drink is topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Caffè corretto: Literally meaning “corrected coffee,” this is the way to order coffee in Italy if you want your espresso served with a splash of liquor.

Enjoy Italian-Style Coffee – Right Around the Corner

There’s nothing that beats drinking coffee in Italy, sipping a smooth espresso drink while soaking in the culture and scenery. But when you’re craving a latte, macchiato, or iced coffee right here at home, Ellianos Coffee has you covered.

Find an Ellianos location near you to taste a sip of Italian Quality at America’s Pace!

Abby Benton

About Abby Benton

Growing up in High Springs, Abby was always used to the small-town, family-like feel of things, which attracted her to join the Ellianos team. As the Marketing & PR Manager at Ellianos, Abby constantly seeks ways to expand her knowledge and skills in content creation. She loves crafting engaging social media posts, curating stunning visuals, and brainstorming unique marketing strategies.

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