For many years, I considered coffee drinking a key element in European sophistication that sadly evades those not born on the continent. When I first moved to Italy, the erudite Milanese would scowl in horror at the concept of ordering a long drink over the obligatory espresso and I was duly punished, paying three times as much as them for my mistake.
However, one must understand that coffee culture in Italy is not about laptops and long drinks, but more about fast glamour and quick hits. All sounds too mysterious and complicated for an instant coffee lover or tea-fiend? It should, because coffee-culture in Italy has more strictures than a Catholic wedding so it’s essential to do your research pre-trip to avoid any caffeine related calamities.
Like food, coffee is a sacred Italian ritual. The scent wafts through the early morning air, reminding you of the sumptuous, stormy goodness that awaits you when you stagger from bed to bar. Like most Europeans, Italians have had a lot of practice; coffee was brought to Venice in the early 17th century from Arabia. Originally Italian priests thought it was a drink for ‘infidels’ because of its origins, but its charms soon captured the locals and it became the drink of choice.