I received a wonderful little write up in my friend Susan Evan's Umbrian Il Gusto del Paese newsletter of the various ways in which Italians can imbibe in their morning coffee. It is such a treat to actually watch the ordering in action on a busy workday morning (10am's a good time for caffè spotting), that it even caught the imagination of the ingenious cartoonist, Bruno Bozzetto.
A bit of research later, here's a full listing compiled by the magazine, Focus.it. If you go to their site, (just be sure to click the strange links at the article bottom instead of trying to do the right thing hitting next page), you'll see the listing topping off at 111 types, with Irish coffees, Sultanas, and, my very very favorite, the most amazing coffee treat you will ever have in a 3 second long sip, Torino's famous Bicerin.* And let me tell you, the Torinese rival the Viennese when it comes to wonderfully baroque coffee bars. In Naples you get a lemon slice (and a helpful glass of water to wash it down with), in Milan, we order 'Marocchini' (aka Moroccan coffees), which are mini-cappuccinos, and in Venice, Focus says, you can even find an espresso served with an egg inside, although I have never seen anyone try it. Might be a good cure for hangovers, however from your Venetian Happy Hours, something else to experience before one dies.
So, to totally plagiarize from Focus, here's their listing of what's on offer:
1) Amaro 2) Ristretto 3) Lungo 4) Corto 5) Alto 6) Macchiato 7) Macchiato caldo 8) Macchiato freddo 9) Decaffeinato 10) Corretto 11) Doppio 12) Doppio in tazza grande 13) D'orzo 14) In tazza grande 15) In tazza piccola 16) Americano 17) Cappuccino 18) Cappuccino senza schiuma 19) Cappuccino tiepido 20) Cappuccino decaffeinato 21) Cappuccino con cacao 22) Caffellatte 23) Latte macchiato 24) Latte macchiato con decaffeinato 25) Marocchi 26) In tazza fredda 27) Con latte freddo a parte 28) Con latte caldo a parte 29) Freddo 30) Freddo shakerato 31) Irish 32) Frappé 33) Caffè crème (Svizzera)
Rome's Sant' Eustachio caffè has a daunting list about three times the size of this one. But, don't try asking what things are. All the guys behind all the counters are the Italian equivalent of the Seinfeld Soup Nazis. In my opinion, the quality of the caffè does not outshine the frenzy of the unhappy drinking experience there. You can find my writeup plus more Caveats & Carpe Diems in my Travel Tip Tab above.
*This bellissimo writeup from the place where it all started, at the Caffè Bicerin:
This historic drink of Turin, which has evolved from the eighteenth century “bavareisa”, was created right here in this café of the same name which jealously guards the traditional recipe. It’s an exquisite, hot drink- a mixture of espresso, chocolate ( the process is a well-guarded secret) and fresh cream. Served in a tall glass so you can admire the mouth watering melange of colours, the bicerin is a pleasure waiting to be discovered by those who love tempting the palate.
In 2001 the Bicerin was acknowledged as the “traditional Piedmontese drink” by the publication – Bollettino Ufficiale della Regione Piemonte.
Though “bicerin” means small glass, it is in fact packed with sustenance with its base of concentrated chocolate, topped with a layer of espresso, covered with cream. It is a power pack of energy.
(Lucia Sollazzo – La Repubblica)